Vitamin K (VK)is best known as a blood clotting agent (which is how it initially got its name), which might not sound like a good thing but is. We often think of blood clots as bad things that harm our brain or cardiovascular function. While this can be true in some circumstances, it is also necessary for our blood to naturally clot or every time we scratch or cut ourselves we would bleed continually. However, vitamin K has tons of other awesome health benefits beyond its blood clotting capabilities.
Vitamin K also has great benefits for bone health in people of all ages and eating a diet rich in VK when you are younger helps promote stronger bones in old age. Men and women who eat vitamin K rich diets have much less risk of bone fractures than those who have VK deficiencies. Diets rich in vitamin K also help prevent unwanted bone loss in older men and especially in older women. We don’t have to tell you how important bone strength is to those in the bodybuilding and fitness world.
Research has shown that VK is also a powerful antioxidant, which can help prevent diseases, bolster your immune system, clear your skin, improve vision, memory and mood and help prevent heart conditions from developing. Antioxidants can also help prevent the oxidation of some of the muscles in the body—which is something every bodybuilder cares about. Eating a vitamin K rich diet will also help protect against insulin resistance later in life, which greatly lessens your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. A vitamin K rich diet will also help protect the cells that line your blood vessels (both the veins and arteries) and can potentially help reduce the risk of the bad kind of blood clotting which can be damaging to your brain and your cardiovascular system.
Where to Find It
Luckily, a lot of tasty, healthy foods that are probably already a part of your diet are some of the richest sources to vitamin K that we know about. Kale, spinach, mustard, collard, beet and turnip greens, Swiss chard, parsley, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all packed with this awesome vitamin. Any type of dark, leafy green will have some vitamin K in it, but these are the richest sources. You can also find small amounts of vitamin K in many common herbs and spices, including basil, cilantro, sage, oregano and black pepper.
Some fruits and legumes, including kiwis, blueberries, prunes, grapes, soybeans and miso, also contain vitamin K, as do some protein sources, including tuna, salmon, shrimp, sardines, eggs, lamb, cheese and milk. So as you can see, there are tons of healthy, delicious foods that are probably already staples of your diet for their other health benefits. If you aren’t already eating these foods (then what are you eating?), try some of them out and see all the benefits that incorporating VK into your diet can bring.
Unlike some other vitamins, VK content in most foods is not diminished by any cooking or storing methods. So feel free to steam, bake, sauté, grill, stir fry or use whatever your preferred cooking method is for any of the foods listed above and know that you’ll still be reaping all the vitamin K you ever wanted. If you need some suggestions for healthy recipes including vitamin K rich foods, check out some of these ideas from the MR Supps forum:
Here’s how to make the perfect green smoothie
Awesome breakfast options, including a spinach and egg scramble
Most of these food can be added, cooked or fresh, into a salad
We hope this information will help you meal prep for each week and keep you on track with your nutritional goals.