Top Vitamin K Foods and Recipes for a Nutrient-Rich Diet

Venture into the nourishing realm of Vitamin K1, a crucial nutrient known for its significant role in blood clotting, bone fortification, and heart health.

This guide unveils a variety of foods abundant in Vitamin K1, primarily sourced from vibrant green leafy vegetables, along with enticing recipes to integrate this essential vitamin into your daily diet seamlessly.

structure of vitamin K1 K2 and K3

Delve deeper to unearth charts and tools that can guide you towards a healthier, Vitamin K1-rich dietary lifestyle. Your journey towards a more nutritious and heart-healthy diet begins here.

High Vitamin K1 Foods (Per Serving)

If you find yourself falling short of the recommended K1 intake, it’s time to focus on foods that pack more vitamin K1 per serving.  To help you get started, the infographic below shows the vitamin K1 provided by popular foods in the average serving sizes consumed by our Optimisers. 

Once you’re ready to revitalise your diet with a wider variety of high-thiamine foods, download our printable list of foods with more vitamin K1 per serving here.

Vitamin K Rich Foods (Per Calorie)

Once you know you’re getting the minimum amount of vitamin K1 your body needs, you can zero in on foods that deliver more K1 per calorie to increase your satiety and nutrient density.  The infographic below shows popular foods that provide more K1 per calorie. 

For more variety, check out our printable list of vitamin K1-rich foods per calorie.

Vitamin K Food Chart

Curious about how your favourite foods stack up in the vitamin K1 game?  Dive into our dynamic chart showcasing popular foods, comparing K1 content per calorie and per serving.  For an immersive experience, explore the interactive Tableau version (on your computer)

Vitamin K Food Chart

How Much Vitamin K1 Do You Need?

Our satiety analysis reveals that your body craves at least 55 mcg mg of vitamin K1 per 2000 calories, which is significantly less than the Dietary Reference Intake of 120 mcg for men.  However, achieving the Optimal Nutrient Intake of 140 mg per 2000 calories from food aligns with a 17% reduction in energy intake.   

Satiety Response for Foods with More Vitamin K1

It’s interesting to note here that the amount of vitamin K1 we crave is small.  A little bit goes a long way.  Also, note how the satiety response to foods with more vitamin K1 levels out once we exceed the Optimal Nutrient Intake.   It only takes a small amount of vegetables to meet our requirements for vitamin K1.  Most people consuming an omnivorous diet will find this quite easy to meet, so unless you’re on a carnivorous diet, you’ll probably need to focus on other nutrients in your diet. 

Vitamin K-Rich Recipes

Elevate your culinary game with our chart, showcasing over 1400 NutriBooster recipes used in our Micros Masterclass.  We’ve plotted these recipes based on vitamin B1 content versus protein percentage.  The further right you go, the more vitamin B1 you can enjoy with fewer calories.

Vitamin K-Rich Recipes

Dive into the details with our interactive Tableau chart on your computer.  Click on each recipe to uncover the magic behind it and even feast your eyes on mouthwatering pictures!

photos of Vitamin K-Rich Recipes

Why is Vitamin K Important? 

Interestingly, the K comes from the Danish word “koagulation”.  So, while Vitamin K1’s claim to fame is predominantly blood clotting, K2 has many other roles in your body.

  • Blood clotting: Vitamin K plays a crucial role in blood clotting, which is the process by which the body stops bleeding after an injury.  The blood may not clot properly without sufficient vitamin K, leading to excessive bleeding and bruising.
  • Bone health: Vitamin K also helps maintain bone health by aiding in the absorption of calcium and other minerals essential for bone growth and maintenance.  Low levels of vitamin K have been associated with an increased risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.
  • Cardiovascular health: Some studies have suggested that vitamin K may also promote cardiovascular health.  It may help prevent the build-up of calcium in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease.

Vitamin K1 Bioavailability

Vitamin K1 is said to have a lower absorption rate than vitamin K2, with estimates as low as 10% of the vitamin being absorbed.  This could be because K2 foods are often richer in fat, whereas K1 sources are often leafy green vegetables, which are low in fat.   

Vitamin K1 vs Vitamin K2

Vitamin K1 can be converted to vitamin K2, the more active form of vitamin K.  However, this conversion is relatively inefficient, and only a small amount of K1 is converted to K2.

Although both forms of vitamin K differ in function, they both play a vital role in blood clotting.  Proteins that are involved in clotting are regulated by vitamins K1 and K2. 

It’s important to note that K1 (phylloquinone) is found in plant foods, while K2 (menaquinone) is found in animal and fermented foods.  Vitamin K2 is considered more critical for factors outside of blood clotting. 

Unfortunately, most nutritional databases only quantify vitamin K1, so it’s hard to know if you’re getting sufficient K2 when you track your food in Cronometer.  

People on a strict vegan diet will get plenty of K1 but less K2.  On the contrary, people on a carnivorous diet may get K2 and little K1.  

Although the conversion factor varies, most people can convert adequate K1 to K2.  However, it’s unclear if we can convert K2 to K1 or even need to because K2 is the more active form. 

What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency?

Due to its role in effective blood clotting, inadequate vitamin K1 intake may cause unexplained or uncontrolled bleeding

Because K1 can convert into K2, low K1 consumption may contribute to bone disorders like osteoporosis and heart disease.

Other symptoms of vitamin K deficiency are:

  • bruising easily
  • bleeding excessively,
  • small blood clots under nails,
  • unexplained haemorrhaging,
  • bleeding in mucous membranes inside the body and
  • stools that are tar-coloured with some blood.

People at risk for vitamin K deficiency include:

  • people on blood thinners or anticoagulants,
  • people taking antibiotics, especially long-term,
  • someone diagnosed with a condition affecting nutrient absorption, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or a disorder affecting bile production (liver, gallbladder, bile duct diseases),
  • someone diagnosed with cystic fibrosis,
  • someone consuming a diet deficient in vitamin K and
  • someone taking statins or osteoporosis medication, as it decreases the conversion of K1 to K2.

Vitamin K is often given to counteract medications that thin the blood, like Warfarin, and to newborns to protect from life-threatening bleeding in the skull

Vitamin K1 Toxicity

While all forms of vitamin K are fat soluble, this nutrient is not stored in the body.  Hence, vitamin K toxicity is extremely rare and has mainly been reported from synthetic vitamin K forms in newborns.  Symptoms of vitamin K toxicity include jaundice (yellow discolouration of the skin), haemolytic anaemia, and high bilirubin levels.

Does Vitamin K Cause Blood Clots?

Because of vitamin K’s role in blood clotting, many assume that the vitamin can prompt blood clots to occur.  

However, vitamin K is critical for synthesising proteins needed for blood clotting.  Therefore, simply consuming more does not necessarily result in more clotting activity.  If anything, it may regulate your body’s ability to clot.

Nonetheless, vitamin K can counteract the effects of medications like Warfarin or Coumadin—even if it’s sourced from food!

Synergistic and Antagonistic Nutrients

Vitamin K works synergistically with vitamins A, B3, B6, C, D, E, calcium and manganese.  

In other words, vitamin K can’t carry out any of its fundamental processes without the help of these other nutrients.  For this reason, we recommend consuming vitamin K from a nutrient-dense diet to get the complete profile of synergistic nutrients.

In contrast, vitamin E is known to work antagonistically—or against—all forms of vitamin K.  Hence, consuming large amounts of vitamin E for long periods could increase your demand for vitamin K.  This is often more of a problem if someone consumes large amounts of vitamin E from supplements or industrial seed oils which are common in ultra-processed foods

Vitamin A is also an antagonist, but eating a nutrient-dense diet containing plenty of vitamins A and K from whole foods should not cause any alarm; problems with antagonists only tend to arise from extremes.

Aside from nutrients, vitamin K is also depleted by blood-thinning drugs like Warfarin.  This is because they inhibit vitamin K recycling, which is necessary for blood clotting.  Thus, long-term use of these medications can contribute to vitamin K deficiency and conditions related to low vitamin K, like decreased bone density.

How Can I Calculate if I am Getting Enough Vitamin K1? 

Curious about your Vitamin K1 intake?  Take our Free 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge and discover if you’re hitting the Vitamin K1 sweet spot in your diet.

After just one week of tracking your daily meals with Cronometer, Nutrient Optimiser will unveil a personalised roadmap, your guide to a healthier, more nutrient-rich lifestyle. 

You’ll receive a curated list of foods and tantalising NutriBooster recipes that not only fill your Vitamin K1 gaps but also ensure you’re not missing out on critical nutrients.

Ready to unlock your nutrient potential?  Join the challenge and embark on a journey towards a brighter, healthier you!

Nutrient Density Starter Pack

Ready to supercharge your nutrition?  Get our Nutrient Density Starter Pack – your all-access pass to a healthier, more vibrant you!

In our quest to make Nutritional Optimization a breeze, we’re thrilled to offer you this treasure trove of tools and resources when you join our vibrant Optimising Nutrition Community:

  • Food Lists: Discover our carefully crafted lists optimised for each essential nutrient, tailored to your goals, preferences, and unique conditions.
  • The Healthiest Meal Plan in the World: Peek into a week of mouthwatering, nutrient-dense meals that’ll leave you satisfied and energised.
  • Recipes: Download delectable samples from our NutriBooster recipe books, designed to elevate your nutrition while tantalising your taste buds.
  • 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge: Unearth your priority nutrients and pinpoint the foods and meals that pack a nutrient punch so you can kickstart your journey to better health.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to transform your nutrition effortlessly.  Join our community and unlock your path to a healthier, more vibrant you!

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