Vitamin K is an essential nutrient found in green leafy vegetables and can help conceal cuts, promote healthy bones, and boost heart health.
When feeling under the weather from fighting a nasty virus, there are many nutrients we consider when combating infection.
Plenty of fluids rich in Vitamin C is always a popular choice, or maybe a hot cup of soup rich in various vitamins and minerals.
Building immunity is based on more factors than consuming nutrients that fight pathogens directly. Immunity is also about prevention.
Let’s take a look at why vitamin K is essential for our health and how it can prevent certain conditions from arising.
Health Benefits Of Vitamin K
Vitamin K isn’t a nutrient we tend to talk about when considering a diet rich in vitamins.
However, I consider this nutrient highly important for front line defenses and the prevention of health issues that can develop as a result of deficiency.
The functions of Vitamin K include forming blood clots, regulating bone metabolism, calcium absorption, and maintaining a healthy and functional heart.
So let’s take a look over the most important health benefits of vitamin K:
1. Blood Clotting
Your body’s ability to form blood clots is the front line defense of your immune system. This is essential for preventing excessive blood loss, and viruses and other bacteria from entering the bloodstream.
Vitamin K stimulates a response in our body to form clots and conceal cuts at the location of the wound.
The vitamin produces a protein called Prothrombin. If this protein isn’t present, clotting time is reduced. Reduced clotting time, can lead to excessive internal and external bleeding.
The dangers included are organ failure, dehydration, and constant exposure to infection. Severe cases can be fatal.
2. Bone Metabolism
Vitamin K is also required to produce a protein called osteocalcin. The primary function of osteocalcin is regulating calcium levels in the bloodstream.
Bones need this protein to form, repair, and produce any needed chemicals for homeostasis.
Osteocalcin monitors the amount of calcium needed to be absorbed from the blood for cellular activity at any given time.
Insufficient levels of osteocalcin can cause conditions such as osteoporosis. Therefore, calcium cannot be absorbed and binded to our bones. This causes bones to become weak and frail, leading to biomechanical issues.
Problems that can arise are back pain, joint and ligament issues, organ trouble, and fractures.
This is particularly important for anybody who engages in a physical job or exercise. Accidents could lead to severe injuries due to weak joints and bones.
It has been scientifically proven that people with a good diet of Vitamin K have healthier bone density.
Individuals that consume very little of this nutrient are likely to suffer from bone-related problems and excessive bleeding.
3. Heart Health
Vitamin K boosts our immunity when considering the prevention of heart disease.
Because the vitamin supports the absorption of calcium, it doesn’t leave excess amounts of this mineral floating in the bloodstream.
This leads to a build-up of deposits that stick to the sides of arteries and blood vessels. Over time, this can disrupt blood flow and lead to heart disease, which can be fatal.
Eating rich nutrients in Vitamin K will help to keep calcium regulated in the bloodstream, allowing the heart to pump blood effectively.
4. Blood Sugar Balance
Osteocalcin provides more benefits than just bone health.
This protein is also a hormone that helps stimulate the production of insulin in the pancreas. This helps to regulate blood sugar levels in our body and use calories effectively.
Low levels of insulin can result in weight gain. For this reason, Vitamin K also supports weight loss.
5. Central Nervous System
Vitamin K also produces fats called sphingolipids. These lipids are vital for the brain and central nervous system.
These fats help form the myelin sheath, which allows each nerve cell to communicate with one another.
What Are Good Sources Of Vitamin K?
Generally speaking, the foods richest in Vitamin K are “leafy greens” or “green vegetables”.
These foods are rich in the compound Vitamin K1. This vitamin is more responsible for the production of Prothrombin for forming blood clots.
Let’s take a look at 5 food sources you can add to your diet and are rich in this nutrient (values are per 100g product):
1. Cooked Spinach
- 495 mcg (micrograms)
- 415% DV daily value
2. Cooked Collards
- 440 mcg (micrograms)
- 365% DV daily value
3. Cooked Kale
- 420 mcg (micrograms)
- 350% DV daily value
4. Brussels Sprouts
- 178 mcg (micrograms) per 100g
- 150% DV daily value
5. Cooked Broccoli
- 420 mcg (micrograms) per 100g
- 120% DV daily value
Food Sources Rich In Vitamin K That Are Not Vegetables
The second compound that is essential is Vitamin K2. This nutrient is responsible for the production of osteocalcin.
These foods are mostly sourced from dairy products, animals, and bacteria from fermented goods.
1. Cooked Natto
- 1036 mcg per 100g
2. Cheddar Cheese
- 55 mcg per 100g
3. Full Fat Milk
- 38.5 mcg per 100g
4. Egg Yolk
- 16 mcg per 100g
5. Cooked Chicken Breast
- 8.2 mcg per 100g
The best advice is to not skip on your vegetables. Eat plenty of leafy greens and include in your diet lean meats that are rich in Vitamin K.
Excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine can lower levels of Vitamin K in your system. Try to keep a balance to everything in your food journal.