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54 Foods Rich In Vitamin K

1. Swiss chard

830 μg / 100g

The amazing colours of Swiss chard stems make it a wonderful vegetable to serve as a side dish, especially for anyone wanting to really impress their guests. It can be gently steamed and smothered in garlic and butter, but also works very well when chopped and added to clear soups.

2. Dandelion Greens

778.4 μg / 100g

Dandelion greens can be enjoyed both cooked and raw. Raw, they make a simple, yet delicious dandelion salad with red onion, tomato and seasoning. Cooked, dandelion greens can be added to soups, served as a side to dishes like steamed fish or roast chicken and also blended with garlic to make a puree for serving with pasta.

3. Kale

704.8 μg / 100g

Containing nearly seven times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K per one cup serving, kale is definitely a vegetable to try and include more of in the diet! It is often blended into green smoothies, but also tastes delicious when braised in coconut milk and served with curry, or added to sausage casserole.

4. Spinach

482.9 μg / 100g

Like many leafy green vegetables, spinach is a very good source of vitamin K, containing around 181% of the recommended daily allowance per cup. This mild-flavoured vegetable can be added to a variety of dishes without impacting the taste: dishes like carbonara, lasagne and green salad. It is often used to make an Indian curry known as saag aloo.

5. Collard Greens

437.1 μg / 100g

Collard greens have a bitter flavour that works surprisingly well with sweeter tasting main dishes like sausage pie, or beef slow cooked in barbeque sauce. These versatile greens can be braised with bacon and onion for a delicious side dish to Christmas dinner, or even added to clear soups.

6. Mustard Greens

257.5 μg / 100g

The unmistakably peppery flavour of mustard greens makes them ideal for frying off with spicy meats. Mustard greens can also be used to make pesto. A single cup of mustard greens contains a whopping 348% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K!

7. Radicchio

255.2 μg / 100g

The beautifully vibrant red colouring of radicchio means that it makes a gorgeous looking, as well as a delicious tasting salad. It can be sautéed with garlic and basil, then tossed through some pasta for a simple lunch. A cup of radicchio contains around 128% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

8. Watercress

250 μg / 100g

The peppery flavour of watercress allows it to make a simply delicious soup. This same flavour also works very well in wraps and sandwiches with ingredients like roast beef or falafels, or even as a base for fresh pesto. A one cup serving of watercress can contain just over 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

9. Endive

231 μg / 100g

Half a cup of endive can contain as much as 72% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, making it a vegetable worth including in your diet. The bitter flavour of raw endive pairs beautifully with apple in homemade coleslaw. It can also be braised with chicken stock, sugar and lemon to create a delicious side dish.

10. Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)

224 μg / 100g

Rapini and garlic are made for each other! Gently sauté this bitter-tasting vegetable in a little olive oil with garlic and some oregano for a truly delicious ensemble that can be tossed through some linguine and served with parmesan. A cup of rapini will provide just over 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

11. Scallions

207 μg / 100g

Scallions are an excellent source of vitamin K, containing as much as 259% of the recommended daily allowance per one cup serving! They can be snipped into salads and soups for a mild, onion flavour. They also taste wonderful in stir fries and creamy chicken and coconut curry.

12. Brussels Sprouts

177 μg / 100g

Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin K; a single cup contains nearly twice the recommended daily intake! Enjoy them as a simple side dish to a roast dinner, or chop them in half to add to stir fries. Brussel sprouts are also delicious wrapped in lean bacon and roasted as a healthier alternative to pigs in blankets.

13. Lettuce

126.3 μg / 100g

There are a number of lettuce varieties available to choose from, each with a distinct flavour and nutrient profile. Leafy green lettuces are especially great for adding to green smoothies or wraps that contain red meat, whilst white lettuces, like iceberg lettuce, are excellent for simple, green side salads.

14. Arugula

108.6 μg / 100g

Arugula is a flavourful salad vegetable that tastes great in wraps & sandwiches, and works very well as a milder alternative to watercress in soup. Arugula also makes an excellent pesto to serve with chicken. Half a cup of arugula contains around 14% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

15. Broccoli

101.6 μg / 100g

This tree-shaped vegetable is incredibly versatile: it can be enjoyed as a side dish, chucked in stir fries and even eaten raw as a snack. Broccoli also works very well with most cheeses, including when paired with paneer to make a delicious broccoli and paneer curry that can be served with brown rice or warm garlic naan breads.

16. Cabbage

76 μg / 100g

Crunchier types of cabbage, like red cabbage, are delicious pickled and served as a side dish at barbeques, or added to homemade coleslaw. Leafy green cabbages, like Napa cabbage, are perfect for using as the green base in green smoothies, or for filling with ingredients and consuming instead of wheat wraps.

17. Fennel

62.8 μg / 100g

The amazing aniseed flavour of fennel means that it makes a great addition to tomato-based roast vegetable dishes like ratatouille. It also works beautifully when finely sliced into a green salad. And chewing on fennel seeds can help to naturally freshen breath, making them a far better choice than after dinner mints.

18. Prunes

59.5 μg / 100g

Prunes are often added to recipes like lamb tagine to provide an earthy, yet intensely sweet flavour. They can also be used as a natural sweetener in smoothies and stewed fruit recipes. A single cup of prunes can contain nearly 130% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

19. Pine Nuts

53.9 μg / 100g

Commonly used to make pesto, pine nuts are also delicious flaked through buttery rice for serving with curry and they work very well when blended into soups or added to nut loaves or burgers. A cup of pine nuts contains around 91% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

20. Leeks

47 μg / 100g

A single cup of leeks can provide more than half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. Enjoy these onion-flavoured vegetables in leek and potato soup, added to bolognaise and pasta sauces or sliced raw into green salads. Leeks can even be added to cheesy bread dough to produce a delicious accompaniment to soups.

21. Bok Choy

45.5 μg / 100g

We are so used to seeing bok choy in stir fries that we might think that this is all we can use it for. However bok choy can be roughly chopped and added to clear soups before serving, and the leaves can be stuffed with cheeses, meats and vegetables to serve as a gluten-free starter.

22. Asparagus

41.6 μg / 100g

This wonderful vegetable makes a great alternative to toast soldiers to dip into soft boiled eggs for breakfast. Asparagus also works incredibly well with anything cheese-based including chopped into quiche or goat’s cheese tart. A single cup of asparagus contains around 70% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

23. Kiwifruit

40.3 μg / 100g

As well as enjoying kiwifruit as a snack or in fruit salads, you can use it to make jam that is delicious in porridge or on toast for breakfast. Kiwifruit can be added to smoothies and homemade juices. The slightly sour flavour lends itself very well to making a kiwifruit salsa for serving with fish or chicken.

24. Cashew Nuts

34.1 μg / 100g

The creamy texture of cashew nuts makes them perfect for blending into a creamy, vegan-friendly sauce like vegan macaroni and “cheese”. Cashew nuts also make a delicious chicken and cashew stir fry. A one cup serving of cashews contains around 59% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

25. Edamame

31.4 μg / 100g

Many people are used to consuming edamame beans when they are roasted in very hot spices, but that isn’t the only way to enjoy them. Edamame can be added to soups and stews in place of beans like chickpeas, and they can be blended with garlic, lemon and basil to make a wholesome dip.

26. Okra

31.3 μg / 100g

Okra is a wonderful vegetable that instantly thickens sauces thanks to its naturally gelatinous qualities when cut. However, okra can also be seasoned, then barbequed or baked whole to be served as a tasty side to meats and salads. A cup of okra contains around two thirds of the daily allowance of vitamin K.

27. Celery

29.3 μg / 100g

Celery is excellent for loading with hummus or peanut butter for a nutritious and healthy snack. It can also make a very tasty soup. Because of its aniseed flavour, which is similar to fennel, celery can be a more affordable option for those who wish to add some fennel-like flavour to roast vegetables, soups and salads.

28. Peas

24.8 μg / 100g

Peas are an excellent vegetable to keep in the freezer: they can be chucked into almost any dish and will instantly boost the nutrient content, as well as add a flash of colour. Some of the other delicious ways to enjoy peas include pea and ham soup, pea and potato curry, and pea pilaf.

29. Parsnips

22.5 μg / 100g

One of the most delicious ways to enjoy parsnips is to roast them until slightly burnt. This helps to really enhance their naturally sweet, yet sour flavour. Parsnips can be added to root vegetable stews and used as an alternative to swede in recipes that call for that vegetable.

30. Avocados

21 μg / 100g

Traditionally, avocados are the main ingredient in guacamole and they are often used as an alternative to mayonnaise in sandwiches and wraps, but avocados can also be delicious in other ways. Just like peppers, they can be stuffed with vegetables and cheese and enjoyed for lunch. They can also be blended with tahini for a great salad dressing.

31. Blackberries

19.8 μg / 100g

Blackberries, when they are in season, are delicious snacks and work very well in homemade smoothies and juices, especially with other fruits that are in season, like apples. Blackberries can be cooked with red cabbage to produce a colourful, flavoursome side dish to autumnal meats like venison.

32. Blueberries

19.3 μg / 100g

By freezing blueberries in single portion servings, when they are in season, you will always have something delicious to chuck in smoothies, yogurt or into wholemeal pancakes and muffins for breakfast. Blueberries are a powerhouse of nutrition and also contain around 36% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K per one cup serving.

33. Kidney Beans

19 μg / 100g

Providing an excellent source of affordable, plant-based protein, kidney beans are often added to chilli con carne or used to make bean burgers. Kidney beans can also be used to make a delicious kidney bean curry, called rajma, that is great served with brown rice. A cup of kidney beans contains around 19% of the daily intake of vitamin K.

34. Cucumber

16.4 μg / 100g

Cucumber provides an incredibly satisfying crunch in green salads and also works very well when grated with carrot and served with hummus or peanut butter in a wrap for a healthy lunch. Even though it is mainly made up of water, cucumber is a surprisingly good source of vitamin K, with one cup of cucumber containing around 22% of the recommended daily allowance.

35. Pomegranates

16.4 μg / 100g

The seeds from the pomegranate can be scattered over a simple green salad, with a lemon dressing, providing small bursts of intense flavour. They can also be stirred through yogurt for a simple breakfast or post-exercise snack. A single pomegranate contains around 58% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

36. Cauliflower

15.5 μg / 100g

Using cauliflower to make pizza bases or mash in place of wheat and potatoes is becoming something of a trend of late, but you don’t need to do anything fancy in order to use this humble vegetable in the best way. Cauliflower curry is simply delicious, as is warm cauliflower salad.

37. Artichokes

14.8 μg / 100g

One of the easiest ways to enjoy artichokes is straight from the jar, when all the hard work has been done for you. This way, they can help you to whip up a healthful, midweek meal in a matter of minutes such as artichoke pasta or even an omelette made with other vegetables.

38. Grapes

14.6 μg / 100g

Peeled, frozen grapes are an excellent treat for children on hot summer days. They can also be added to homemade smoothies and juices for an instantly chilled effect. Grapes are also a pretty good source of vitamin K, containing nearly a third of the recommended daily allowance per one cup serving.

39. Green Beans

14.4 μg / 100g

Green beans are incredibly versatile: they can be simply steamed to be served as a side dish, or they can be fried off with bacon, garlic and basil to serve as a fancy side dish to duck or chicken. A one cup serving of green beans contains around 20% of the daily allowance of vitamin K.

40. Chilli Peppers

14.3 μg / 100g

Dried chilli peppers are an excellent stand-in for fresh ones and can be ground up into a powder and mixed with other herbs and oil to create a marinade that can be rubbed into the skin of meats like chicken and beef. You can also opt to add a kick to savoury smoothies by chucking in a chilli pepper.

41. Hazelnuts

14.2 μg / 100g

Traditionally, hazelnuts are enjoyed in sweet dishes because of their naturally creamy, sweet flavour, however they also work very well in savoury dishes. Hazelnuts can be chopped and sprinkled over soups like pumpkin and apple soup. They can also be used to make a delicious pear and hazelnut bread that is wonderful with cheese.

42. Carrots

13.2 μg / 100g

The easiest way to enjoy the goodness of carrots is by cutting them into batons to dip in hummus. However, carrots can also be roasted with other delicious root vegetables, like butternut squash, and then blended into a warming winter soup. Grated, they can be added to wholemeal breakfast muffins to help make them incredibly moist.

43. Garbanzo Beans

9 μg / 100g

Also known as chickpeas, garbanzo beans are the main component in traditional hummus. They can also be used to make a tasty chickpea curry that is rich in nutrients and packed full of non-animal protein. Garbanzo beans are used to make falafels and work very well to hold homemade bean burgers together.

44. Dark Chocolate

8.1 μg / 100g

Dark chocolate can be used to enhance the flavour and richness of chilli con carne. It can also be used to make a ganache for serving with barbary duck and cherries. On average, a 100g bar of dark chocolate contains around 9% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

45. Tomatoes

7.9 μg / 100g

Some of the common dishes that spring to mind when thinking about tomatoes include salad, pasta sauce and bolognaise. Fresh tomatoes can be roughly diced and used to make a simple salsa or chutney. Large tomatoes are wonderful when they are halved, have their seeds removed, then are stuffed with rice, cheese and other vegetables, and then grilled.

46. Raspberries

7.8 μg / 100g

Raspberries are a wonderfully versatile fruit: enjoy them as they are as a snack, add them to homemade smoothies and juices or use them to top homemade pancakes for breakfast with a drizzle of maple syrup and yogurt. They can also be blended and then frozen in lolly moulds to produce a delicious, yet healthy alternative to ice lollies.

47. Bell Peppers

7.4 μg / 100g

The wonderful flavour of bell peppers can be really appreciated in ratatouille. Another delicious way to enjoy bell peppers is to chop them into various salads, be it green salad, rice salad or pasta salad. On average, peppers contain between 9% and 14% of the daily intake of vitamin K.

48. Pumpkin Seeds

7.3 μg / 100g

Pumpkin seeds are delicious in trail mixes, baked into breads and even sprinkled on your morning porridge with some dried fruit and honey. They can be blended with a pinch of salt to make a tasty, homemade seed butter that is rich in nutrients and high in good fats.

49. Plums

6.4 μg / 100g

The best time to enjoy plums and really appreciate their wonderful flavour is when they are in season. They can be enjoyed as a simple snack, counting towards one of your five-a-day. They are delicious when stewed with apples and blackberries, then served with cream and honey, or added to natural yogurt for breakfast.

50. Lima Beans

6 μg / 100g

Also known as butter beans, lima beans have a wonderful, creamy texture and mild flavour that allows them to work very well in pasta sauces and soups. Lima beans can be paired with tomatoes and basil to make a delicious salad that is perfect for serving at a picnic or barbeque on a warm afternoon.

51. Black Turtle Beans

5.6 μg / 100g

Because of their high protein content and meaty texture, black turtle beans are excellent alternatives to mince in recipes like bolognaise and chilli. They can be used to make a low cost, filling bean stew that can be enjoyed with bread and butter or rice, with leftovers being delicious on a jacket potato the next day.

52. Cranberries

5.1 μg / 100g

The tart flavour of cranberries makes them ideal for turning into a sauce to serve with meat. When they are slow cooked with other much sweeter fruits, they produce a delicious, yet healthful dessert that is wonderful with a pinch of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey and cream.

53. Lentils

5 μg / 100g

Lentils are an excellent alternative to minced beef in recipes like chilli con carne and bolognaise, however they also make a delicious lentil dahl that tastes wonderful with a side of spicy, leafy green vegetables. Red lentil soup is another way to really enjoy the flavour and nutrients that these tiny pulses have to offer.

54. Mackerel

5 μg / 100g

Mackerel is often used to make kedgeree, a delicious rice recipe that uses smoked fish. The intense flavour of this nutritious fish also lends itself incredibly well to making pate. Mackerel can also be enjoyed barbequed and served with rice salad, or flaked into potato salad for a twist on an old classic.

About Vitamin K

The group of fat-soluble compounds that make up vitamin K share a chemical structure, with the two main compounds being phylloquinone, or vitamin K1, and menaquinones, or vitamin K2. Both are used by the body to help maintain good health, although vitamin K2 is needed less from dietary sources because it can be produced in the gut.

Dietary sources of vitamin K1 include leafy green vegetables and some fruits. Vitamin K2 is primarily found in fermented foods like cheese and can also be found in eggs, other dairy products and meat.

Why is Vitamin K Important?

Research is still being carried out into the effects of vitamin K on health since very little is currently known about it. That said, scientists do know that vitamin K is beneficial in helping to prevent osteoporosis in women and cardiovascular disease caused by calcification of the arteries.

In 1999, a study was conducted that found that low intakes of vitamin K increased the risk of experiencing a hip fracture in older women. This research has been further supported by later studies, including one conducted in 2003 that also found that low vitamin K intake was related to a low bone mineral density in women, although it had little effect on men.

A 2006 study also supports the idea of low vitamin K intakes increasing the risk of bone mineral density and, thus, the likelihood of developing osteoporosis.

It is well known that vitamin K plays a role in helping the blood to clot properly and is therefore understood to help prevent excessive bleeding that can lead to low blood pressure.

Studies have also been carried out to examine the other effects that vitamin K can have on preventing cardiovascular disease. In 2004, a study looked at how supplementation with vitamin K could help slow or prevent calcification of the arteries. The results showed that vitamin K2 was significantly effective in doing so, although vitamin K1 had no effect. Numerous other studies have come to the same conclusion.

Recommended Intakes

At present, there isn’t enough information available to allow health professionals to agree on an appropriate recommended daily allowance of vitamin K. However, they have been able to establish guidelines that will enable most people to get an adequate intake of vitamin K into their diets. The guidelines state the same amounts of vitamin K for both males and females until the age of about nineteen.

Infants under the age of six months are understood to need about 2mcg of vitamin K per day. Those between the ages of seven and twelve months need about 2.5mcg a day.

From the age of one to three years, infants need roughly 30mcg a day, whilst four to eight year olds are thought to need about 55mcg a day. Nine to thirteen year olds should be getting around 60mcg a day and fourteen to eighteen year olds require roughly 75mcg, including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

From nineteen years onwards, males should be getting roughly 120mcg per day of vitamin K, whilst females need about 90mcg a day, including when they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Vitamin K Deficiency

The most common symptoms associated with a vitamin K deficiency are hemorrhaging and problems with blood clotting. This is due to the nature of vitamin K and its main purpose in the body, which is to help blood to clot properly. It is important to understand, however, that bleeding only occurs in severe cases of vitamin K deficiency.

Vitamin K deficiency is incredibly rare in otherwise healthy adults and children, however there are two groups at risk from experiencing a significant vitamin K deficiency:

  • Newborn babies – specifically those that have not been treated with a vitamin K injection after they are born. The reason that this injection is given to newborns is because vitamin K is not successfully delivered to the baby via the placenta whilst still in the womb, meaning that when they are born, newborn babies are at risk of developing vitamin K deficiency that can lead to bleeding.
  • People with malabsorption and other gastrointestinal conditions – because nutrients are absorbed into the body via the digestive system, anyone who is suffering from a condition such as celiac disease, that prevents effective absorption of nutrients, can also expect to be at risk from vitamin K deficiency.

Risks And Warnings

Generally speaking, vitamin K is not toxic to the body and, therefore, high doses of it will not cause any adverse health effects. That said, vitamin K supplements are understood to interact adversely with certain medications, particularly those that are designed to act as anticoagulants to stop blood from clotting, such as those that contain warfarin.

A weight-loss drug called orlistat is thought to have a negative relationship with vitamin K because it reduces the body’s ability to absorb fat, which in turn makes it more difficult for the body to effectively absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin K. Antibiotics can also reduce the levels of vitamin K in the body because they are known to destroy bacteria in the gut that produces vitamin K.