What Foods Have Vitamin K: 10 Nutritious Options

Aug 15, 2022 Bone Health Healthy Eating

What Foods Have Vitamin K: 10 Nutritious Options

Quick Health Scoop

  • Vitamin K plays a key role in blood coagulation, and it also supports healthy artery and a vascular function, supports healthy bones, supports healthy heart, and helps maintain a healthy circulatory system. †
  • It’s uncommon for people to have low Vitamin K, but certain people face an increased risk of not having adequate Vitamin K
  • Plant food rich in Vitamin K primarily includes green leafy vegetables.
  • Other foods that contain Vitamin K in smaller quantities includes fermented foods, animal-based products, and nuts.

Vitamin K joins the list of 12 other essential vitamins (and at least 15 minerals) needed for overall health and well-being, including Vitamin A, all eight B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E. [1]

Named for its German name, Koagulationsvitamin, fat-soluble Vitamin K is stored in fat tissue and the liver. [2] More than just a single vitamin, Vitamin K includes a group of compounds with a common chemical structure, found naturally in two forms: phylloquinone (Vitamin K1) and menaquinones (Vitamin K2). [3]

Fortunately, Vitamin K occurs naturally in some plant foods, and it’s also available as a dietary supplement. But what foods have Vitamin K?

Read on to find out.

How Do I Know If I Need Vitamin K?

Vitamin K provides a variety of health benefits, most notably its ability to activate proteins that play a key role in blood coagulation (thickening). [4] In addition, Vitamin K supports healthy artery and vascular function, supports bone health, supports heart health, and helps maintain a healthy circulatory system. [3,4,5,6]

Everyone needs Vitamin K, although the daily dosage varies depending on age and gender. Health experts recommend that adults (ages 19 and older) get 120 micrograms (mcg) of Vitamin K every day for men and 90 mcg of daily Vitamin K for women (including pregnant or lactating females). [7,13]

If you’re concerned about your Vitamin K intake, talk with your health professional who may recommend a blood test to determine your Vitamin K levels. If you have low levels of this key nutrient, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes (such as healthy eating that includes ) and/or a Vitamin K supplement.

Signs Of Low Vitamin K

Health experts recommend that adults (ages 19 and older) get 120 micrograms (mcg) of Vitamin K every day for men and 90 mcg of daily Vitamin K for women (including pregnant or lactating females). [7]

What signs indicate that you might have low levels of Vitamin K? If you experience excessive bleeding or bruising, this is often a telltale sign that you’re not getting enough Vitamin K.  While it’s uncommon for healthy adults to have low Vitamin K levels, certain people face an increased risk, including newborns, people taking certain medications (such as warfarin), people with certain health issues. [3,9]

As always, it’s best to get your nutrients—including Vitamin K—from food sources. But what foods have Vitamin K?

Foods That Have Vitamin K

Vitamin K-rich food that contains Vitamin K1 primarily includes plant foods (especially leafy green vegetables) while foods high in Vitamin K2 includes animal foods (such as dairy) and fermented plant foods. [4]

While the recommended Daily value of Vitamin K depends on age and gender, the FDA recently released updated guidelines that generally suggest most healthy adults should aim for 120 mcg. [10]

Need a shopping list of high Vitamin K foods (more than 100 mcg) to buy at the grocery store?  Hopefully you like green leafy vegetables  because they make up the Top 10. [5,11,12]

  1. Kale (cooked)
    ½ cup: 531 mcg (443% of the DV)
  2. Mustard greens (cooked)
    ½ cup: 415 mcg (346% of the DV)
  3. Swiss chard (raw)
    1 leaf: 398 mcg (332% of the DV)
  4. Collard greens (cooked)
    ½ cup: 386 mcg (322% of the DV)
  5. Turnip greens
    ½ cup: 265 mcg (221% of the DV)
  6. Parsley (fresh)
    10 springs: 164 mcg (137% of the DV)
  7. Spinach (raw)
    1 cup: 145 mcg (121% of the DV)
  8. Endive (raw)
    1 cup: 116 mcg (97% of the DV)
  9. Broccoli
    ½ cup: 110 mcg (92% of the DV)
  10. Brussels sprouts (cooked)
    ½ cup: 109 mcg (91% of the DV)

But what if you don’t like leafy green vegetables? Are there other food sources with Vitamin K? Yes! Animal-based foods and fermented foods (along with other plant-based foods) also contain Vitamin K. The catch? They contain less than 100 mcg. Additional options for boosting your dietary intake of Vitamin K include: [5,11,12]

  • tuna (light, canned in oil—3 ounces, 37 mcg)
  • black-eyed peas (dried—½ cup, 32 mcg)
  • kiwi fruit (1 medium, 31 mcg)
  • prunes (dried—5 each, 25 mcg)
  • sauerkraut (½ cup, 16 mcg)
  • cashews (1 ounce, 15 mcg)
  • chicken breast (rotisserie—3 ounces, 13 mcg)
  • cheddar cheese, 1.5 ounces, 4 mcg)

Note that most measurements above are based on the U.S. system using cups and ounces. However, some products are labelled using the metric system. For comparison, 100 grams equals 3.5 ounces.

To determine the Vitamin K content of foods, read the nutrition label to see if they contain the recommended daily value.

Bottom Line

As a fat-soluble nutrient, Vitamin K plays a key role in blood coagulation. It also supports healthy artery and vascular functions, supports bone health, supports a healthy heart, and helps maintain a healthy circulatory system. It’s uncommon for people to have low Vitamin K, but certain people face an increased risk of having inadequate Vitamin K levels. Vitamin K occurs naturally in certain foods. What foods have Vitamin K? It’s found primarily in leafy green leafy vegetables. But other foods contain Vitamin K (in smaller quantities), such as fermented foods, animal-based products, and nuts. If you need to boost your intake of this key nutrient, talk to your health professional about taking a  Vitamin K supplementation.

Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.


† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


References 

  1. Harvard Health Publishing. “Vitamins and Minerals: Are You Getting What You Need?” (Adapted from Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals.) 2019. Accessed on: July 21, 2022. https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/vitamins-and-minerals.htm
  2. Sinai. “Vitamin K.” 2022. Accessed on: July 21, 2022. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/vitamin-k
  3. Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute. “Vitamin K.” August 2014. Accessed on: July 19, 2022. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-K#reference35
  4. “Vitamin K1 vs K2: What’s the Difference?” September 15, 2017. Accessed on: July 20, 2022. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-k1-vs-k2
  5. National Institutes of Health. “Vitamin K: Fact Sheet for Health professional” March 29, 2021. Accessed on: July 19, 2022. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminK-HealthProfessional/
  6. “Vitamin K and bone health.” October 2001. Accessed on: July 20, 2022. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0899900701007092
  7. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Vitamin K.” 2022. Accessed on: July 19, 2022. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-k/
  8. Cleveland Clinic. “All About Vitamin Deficiencies with Dr. Kelly Raj.” March 11, 2020. Accessed on: July 20, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/podcasts/health-essentials/all-about-vitamin-deficiencies-with-dr-kelly-raj
  9. National Institutes of Health. “Vitamin K: Fact Sheet for Consumers.” March 22, 2021. Accessed on: July 20, 2022. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminK-HealthProfessional/
  10. S. Food & Drug Administration. “Daily value and Percent Daily value: Changes on the New Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels.” March 2020. Accessed on: July 22, 2022. https://www.fda.gov/media/135301/download
  11. S. Department of Agriculture. “Food Data Central.” 2022. Accessed on: July 22, 2022. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html
  12. American Dietetic Association. “Vitamin K Content of Food” March 2011. Accessed on: July 22, 2022. https://www.nutrition.va.gov/docs/UpdatedPatientEd/VitaminKContentofFoods-nationalboard03-2011.pdf
  13. Institute of Medicine. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2001.

Authors

Lisa Beach

NatureMade Contributor

Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com.

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Lynn M. Laboranti, RD

Science and Health Educator

Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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