Vitamin K, including vitamins K1 and K2, is an essential nutrient that aids in blood clotting and maintaining or improving bone strength. To eat a diet rich in vitamin K, include dark greens and a variety of other vegetables in your regular meals, either on the side or incorporated into your favorite recipes. Fermented soy products, common in Asian cuisines, also contain a fair amount of this vitamin, and can be a healthy addition to many diets. In addition to these changes or in lieu of them, cooking your regular foods in vegetable oils and using them to dress other foods like lettuce can significantly increase the amount of this vitamin in your diet.
Eating one to two servings of a dark, leafy green every day is one of the best ways to increase your intake of this vitamin. Kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are some of the best sources and can be incorporated into nearly any recipe. You can work leafy greens into casseroles, use them as a stuffing for meat, or add them to dishes such as meatballs or meatloaf without drastically changing the recipe’s flavor. Herbs like thyme, sage, and parsley are also great additions to a diet rich in vitamin K, and can be used to season meats and side dishes, increasing flavor as well as the nutritional benefit of the food.
Vegetables should make up a large part of almost everyone’s meals, especially when you’re trying to eat a diet rich in vitamin K. Green beans, broccoli, and nearly all lettuces contain significant amounts of this nutrient, and adding two to three servings of one or more vegetable to each meal is one of the easiest ways to increase your intake. As with leafy greens, these sources can also be included in nearly any recipe that you routinely make at home. You can prepare a colorful salad or add carrots or peas to your side dishes or main meals often using the same recipes that you always have.
Fermentation naturally increases the amount of vitamin K found in soybeans, and these are a staple in Asian cuisine. Miso paste is incredibly popular in Japan, and incorporating soups made with this into your meal plan is one of the best ways to eat a diet rich in vitamin K. In addition to this, natto or cheonggukjang, fermented whole soybeans, are popular breakfast foods in Japan and Korea, and can be used to top rice, wilted greens, or eaten alone.
Vegetable oils can also be a good way to eat a diet rich in vitamin K. Cooking your regular foods in canola, vegetable, or olive oil, all of which are full of this essential nutrient, can be a great way to increase your intake without making any significant changes to your diet. Generally, this nutrient is not affected by heat as others are, and, therefore, heating up the oils does not lower their vitamin K content. You can also use these in salad dressings, providing you with both vegetable and oil sources of this nutrient.