Sometimes it can seem like getting all of our nutritional needs covered can be a bit like reciting the alphabet. One letter that people may not be used to hearing on the list is vitamin K. Even if it is not the first vitamin people think of, it is no less vital to your health than the others. So don’t leave it off the list of must-haves.
Vitamin K is important because it helps our body with blood clotting. That’s what makes us stop bleeding and begin to heal after we cut ourselves. People who don’t have enough vitamin K in their systems can be prone to excessive bruising or nose bleeds. They can also run into serious trouble if they’re badly hurt, since they won’t stop bleeding.
Sounds pretty important, doesn’t it? But don’t panic if a close look at the label on your multi-vitamin doesn’t reveal a healthy dose of K. Most of us don’t have any problem getting enough of this vital nutrient from our regular diet.
How to Get Vitamin K
So where do you get your daily dose of vitamin K? We tend to find about half of what we need in leafy, green vegetables. Foods such as spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and asparagus are all good sources. There is also vitamin K found in some vegetable oils, like olive oil, canola oil and soybean oil.
Yogurt and some kinds of cheese are other sources of the vitamin in our diets. And for those who would rather take theirs in liquid form, you can also find it in green tea and (believe it or not) coffee.
Many of us are trying to cut fats out of our diet wherever possible, but some fats are needed. Certain nutrients, including vitamin K, are fat soluble. This means that in order for our bodies to absorb and use them, they must come into contact with some oils. Finally, it’s one reason as to why a bit of fat is good for you!
In the rare circumstance where someone is vitamin K deficient, there is a synthetic version of the vitamin which can be taken as a supplement. Most healthy people don’t have to worry about it, but if you seem to be suffering from a lot of bruising or uncontrollable nose bleeds, ask your doctor if you could benefit from an extra helping of vitamin K.
If you’re on blood thinning medications, such as Aspirin, for a heart condition, then you’ll want to avoid having too much vitamin K is your system. Since the function of vitamin K is to thicken your blood and help it clot, it works against what the blood thinners are trying to accomplish.
There are some researchers who feel that, as well as keeping our blood healthy, vitamin K can help us to live longer. It is said to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help to prevent our cells from dying, so they keep us healthier for longer.
Most of us will never have to think about whether we’re taking care of our body’s vitamin K requirements, but all the same it’s good to know how we’re getting it and what it does for us.
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