When it comes to your daily diet, you’re probably aware of the importance of nutrients like vitamins B and C. But are you getting enough vitamin K?
If you’ve never heard of it, you’re not alone. But vitamin K is a key factor in keeping your heart and your bones strong as you get older. In fact, getting enough every day could help slow the signs of aging entirely.
What are the health benefits of vitamin K?
Vitamin K is crucial for heart and bone health. It’s most commonly known for helping with the process of blood clotting — which can become more difficult with age — but recent research shows that it’s also vital for preventing arterial calcification. This is when the arteries begin showing signs of calcium buildup, which can harden over time and make it harder for oxygen-rich blood to get to the body. In some cases, it can lead to heart attacks and other potentially fatal cardiovascular problems.
If that wasn’t enough of a reason to pay attention to your intake, scientists are currently studying vitamin K’s role in the prevention of osteoarthritis, which affects over 32 million American adults.
How can I get more vitamin K in my diet?
You can incorporate vitamin K through many of the foods you may eat regularly. But like some other nutrients, there are different forms of vitamin K, and it’s important to eat a variety of foods that contain the different types for a well-balanced diet.
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, romaine, and parsley all have more than the daily recommended amount of what’s called phylloquinone, or vitamin K1, in just one serving. Vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, green beans, and broccoli should also be at the top of your list if you want that vitamin K1.
Moreover, you can add vitamin K to your diet with beef, pork chops, and chicken as well as eggs and various cheeses. These all contain vitamin K2, which is more formally known as menaquinone. Fruits like avocado, kiwi, blackberries, and blueberries can also provide additional nutrients.
Researchers are still in the early stages of understanding just how crucial vitamin K is to so many different bodily functions, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure you’re getting enough every day, either through your diet or through a multivitamin. A little more heart and bone health never hurt!