Vitamin K is a necessary nutrient. It helps build and maintain healthy bones. The vitamin’s biggest claim to fame is its role in helping blood clotting, known as “coagulation.” In fact, the “K” comes from the German word for blood clotting, koagulation.
Leafy green vegetables contain the highest amounts of vitamin K, but there are many other good sources. On average, adult women need 90 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K per day and adult men need 120 mcg.
Note: If you take blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), your intake of this nutrient may affect the dosage of your medication. Check with your doctor and speak with a dietitian to understand the proper daily value of vitamin K for you.
Here’s the full list of foods packed with vitamin K:
- collard greens
- turnip greens
- Brussels sprouts
- pine nuts
565 mcg per 1/2 cup, cooked
Vitamin K helps in blood clotting by enabling your body to make proteins involved in the blood clotting process. Clotting is important because it helps prevent your body from bleeding too much.
2. Collard greens
530 mcg per 1/2 cup, boiled
In addition to its role in clotting, vitamin K helps in bone growth. Some have also linked low vitamin K intake to the development of osteoporosis, which results in fragile bones that can break easily. To get a healthy dose, try out this vegetarian collard greens recipe.
444 mcg per 1/2 cup, cooked
Spinach is filled with all sorts of nutritional goodness, including vitamins A, B and E, plus magnesium, folate, and iron. A half cup of cooked spinach contains about three times as much vitamin K as a cup of raw spinach does, but one raw serving is still plenty for one day.
4. Turnip greens
425 mcg per 1/2 cup, cooked
Turnip greens are used in popular side dishes in the Southeastern United States. Turnip greens are also high in calcium, which helps strengthen bones. Mustard greens and beet greens also contain high levels of vitamin K. The bulbous part of the turnip that grows underground is nutritious, too.
5. Brussels sprouts
150 mcg per 1/2 cup, cooked
Kids may not love the idea of Brussels sprouts, but many recipes can make them taste really good. Give this crispy garlic Brussels sprouts with Sriracha aioli recipe a try.
85 mcg per 1/2 cup, cooked
There are all sorts of ways to prepare broccoli. Whatever your recipe, try cooking it with canola oil or olive oil, not only to add flavor but to boost the vitamin K content as well. A tablespoon of either contains about 10 mcg of vitamin K.
72 mcg per 1/2 cup, cooked
Four spears of asparagus packs about 40 mcg of vitamin K. Add a little olive oil and you’re up to about half of an adequate daily intake. Keep in mind that eating a lot of vitamin K-rich food in one day won’t do you good for an extended period. The body doesn’t absorb much vitamin K from foods and flushes it out pretty quickly.
60 mcg per serving (1/2 head of iceberg or 1 cup of romaine)
Lettuce is probably the most popular source of vitamin K in American diets. It’s available at salad bars and grocery stores across the country in different varieties, including iceberg, romaine, green leaf, and bibb.
56 mcg per 1/2 cup
Pile your hot dog or sausage high with sauerkraut. You’ll get a nice punch of protein, too. Sauerkraut is readily available at many local eateries or chains.
43 mcg per 1/2 cup, roasted
There are two main kinds of vitamin K, known as vitamin K-1 (phylloquinone) and K-2 (menaquinones). K-1 comes from plants, while K-2 exists is smaller amounts in animal-based foods and fermented foods, such as cheese. Soybeans and soybean oil contain more of the K-2 kind as well.
25 mcg per 1/2 cup, boiled
Edamame is popular in Japanese cuisine. It’s simply soybeans that come in pods. They make for a nice, crunchy snack when you and add some light salt and pepper.
25 mcg per cucumber dill or kosher dill pickle
Pickles contain nearly 0 calories (5 in a kosher pickle), making it another very healthy (and crunchy) way to get a vitamin K fill. The human body actually produces some vitamin K-2 by itself, but we need more from food to reach proper levels.
20 mcg per ½ cup canned
Save this one for the fall weather and Halloween. Check out these 50 recipe ideas for canned pumpkin, from soup to overnight oats.
14. Pine nuts
15 mcg per ounce
Pine nuts work well in salads to add some crunch. If you’re not in the mood for a salad, give another nut a try: 1 ounce of dry roasted cashews contains 10 mcg of vitamin K.
14 mcg per 1/2 cup
Finally, a fruit.
The bottom line
One last popular source of Vitamin K? Multivitamin supplements or a vitamin K tablet. Just remember to always speak with your doctor about adding vitamins to your daily regimen, even if you buy it over the counter.