There are actually two types of Vitamin K, K1, which is found in vegetables and K2 is found in dairy products and produced by the bacteria in your gut.
Let us take a look as to why it’s important in our diet, how to identify if we are deficient and where the best sources of it are found.
Why is Vitamin K so important?
Vitamin K is incredibly important as it helps with blood clotting. It aids in the restriction of blood flowing from out of the capillaries, this could be an external wound or an internal one.
This vitamin helps in preventing the arterial walls from hardening. This means it helps keep our blood pressure lower as it stops the buildup of calcium on the artery walls.
It can help prevent osteoporosis by acting like a glue helping the calcium sick to the bones. It also helps the body raise levels of osteocalcin which is the bone-building chemical in our body.
Vitamin K helps keep our brain active and agile and possibly with more research could play a key role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease.
This vitamin can help with PMS cramps as it can help regulate how your hormones function. As this is a blood clotting vitamin, it can also help with excessive bleeding during a period.
So am I deficient?
A deficiency in Vitamin K happens when your body can’t efficiently absorb this vitamin from the intestinal tract. It’s likely you aren’t deficient if you eat a healthy and balanced diet as a bad diet is the biggest factor in a vitamin k deficiency.
If you have noticed you are bruising more easily and bleed for slightly longer than normal, then this could be down to a low amount of Vitamin K. This vitamin is needed to help the body to clot the blood to stop the bleeding and begin to heal.
Something known as Petechiae may also occur more frequently if you have low levels of Vitamin K. This is when purple spots appear on the skin, which is due to broken capillaries, this can happen after a powerful event such as childbirth, excessive coughing or sneezing.
Vitamin K2 is produced by healthy bacteria in the gut, so if you regularly have to take antibiotics, it’s possible you may also be deficient in Vitamin K.
Where can I find Vitamin K?
The first thing to know about Vitamin K is that it’s a healthy fat and according to nutritionists, you should be having at least 90 mcg of the vitamin per day.
- Leafy greens are packed full of good things, including Vitamin K, iron, and fibre as well as being antioxidants. Some of the best greens are Kale, spinach, spring onions and leaf lettuce.
- Cruciferous veggies, which would include broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower are high in vitamin K as well as fibre and useful minerals.
- Berries and Prunes, packed full of fibre they also a great source of Vitamin.
So if you think you may be vitamin K deficient, up your green veggies and see if you notice the difference.
By Holly W.