Vitamin K: The Healing Vitamin

green vegetables
Vitamin K, usually found in leafy green vegetables, is an essential nutrient for healing injuries and preventing blood clotting. (Photo by USDA)

The fat-soluble Vitamin K is famous for its role in blood coagulation. It accelerates the process of wound healing. Over and above this function, it synthesizes proteins that guarantee healthy bones. A deficiency of Vitamin K is a rare occurrence comparatively; however, it may be observed in individuals who suffer chronic gastrointestinal diseases such Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease as the body is unable to absorb the Vitamin K it produces.

In this article, we will discuss the health benefits of Vitamin K and list Vitamin K rich foods that you can include in your diet.

Benefits of Vitamin K

Prevents Blood Clotting

Vitamin K is needed for the synthesis of the protein responsible for blood clotting. A lack of this vitamin results in easy bruising and uncontrolled bleeding. Deficiency of Vitamin K is very common in newborn infants. It could lead to nose bleeds and bleeding gums. In severe cases one might also pass blood in the stool or urine.

Reduces Chances of Heart Attacks

Getting adequate amounts of Vitamin K can be great for heart health. It does not allow the calcium to accumulate in the arteries. Thus, it checks the hardening of arteries, which is one of the primary triggers for heart attacks.

Stronger Bones

Vitamin K ensures your bones develop properly and stay strong by improving calcium absorption. It improves bone mineral density reducing the risk of fractures in case you fall. It also arrests bone loss making you less prone to osteoporosis in the long run.

Cancer Prevention

Recent studies claim that high doses of Vitamin K can help prevent certain types of cancer namely colon, oral, stomach, nasal and prostate. It also helps cancer patients recover and stabilize. It does so by slowing down the growth of cancerous cells in the body.

There are a few more benefits of vitamin K. However, research is still on to prove them. This includes delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, improving insulin sensitivity and improving varicose veins.

kale
Green leafy vegetables like kale (pictured above), are excellent sources of Vitamin K. (Photo by USDA)

Natural Sources of Vitamin K

The body makes its own Vitamin K in the gastrointestinal tract; there is a particular type of bacteria working at it. You can also supplement the natural production by including OTC supplements in your diet.

The type obtained from plant sources is called Vitamin K1 while that obtained from dairy products and produced in the intestinal tract is called Vitamin K2. Fermented foods are the highest sources of Vitamin K.

  • Plant sources: Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, romaine and green leaf lettuce, parsley, mustard greens, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens and Swiss chard. You can also eat cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spring onions, soya beans, wheatgrass, citrus fruits.
  • Animal sources: Although in smaller quantities, it is present in eggs, fish, meat, cheese and organ meat such as liver.

Don’t overlook the benefits of Vitamin K; include it in adequate amounts in your diet and reap its many benefits.

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