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Vitamin what? K?

Elvis isn't dead; he just went home.

Yup! The "K" stands for "koagulation" which is the Danish spelling for "coagulation."

Vitamin K is the vitamin that helps the blood to clot or coagulate. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of what this amazing, underappreciated vitamin does for our bodies.

It’s one of the four fat-soluble vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E & K. That means these vitamins are dissolved by fat and can remain stored in your body, to be used over time.

You may be very familiar with A, D, and E, but not so much with K. That is about to change.

Vitamin K’s amazing functions:

As mentioned earlier, the “K” stands for the vitamin’s ability to help clot our blood. And this is a critical life-saving measure to prevent blood loss from injuries.

Vitamin K also works hand-in-hand with calcium in the blood. It helps to shuttle the calcium to our bones and teeth where we need it. This reduces our risk of fractures and cavities.

Having too much calcium in our blood can lead to kidney stones and hardened arteries (atherosclerosis), so vitamin K helps to reduce our risks of those too.

It also helps with insulin. Not only is vitamin K critical for making insulin, but also to keep your cells sensitive to it. This means that vitamin K can help you better regulate your blood sugar levels.

It can help to regulate your sex hormones. In men, it helps to maintain good levels of testosterone. In women with PCOS, it helps to reduce certain hormones.

And vitamin K can help protect against cancer by switching off cancer genes.

It’s a pretty amazing and versatile vitamin.

What to eat to get vitamin K:

There are two main types of vitamin K: K1 and K2.

The type depends on which foods you eat. Vitamin K1 is found in plants; while vitamin K2 is found in animal foods and fermented plants.

Vitamin K1 supports blood clotting (remember "koagulation?"). Vitamin K1 is found mostly in cruciferous vegetables (e.g., as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts), dark leafy greens (e.g., kale, spinach, collard greens, parsley, and Swiss chard), as well as asparagus.

Vitamin K2 also supports blood clotting and has additional health benefits. Bone mineralization, shutting off certain cancer genes and regulating sex hormones are primarily K2's job. Vitamin K2 is found in egg yolk, cheese, butter, meat, and fermented foods like sauerkraut. Two of the best sources of vitamin K2 are natto (fermented soy) and goose liver.

Since vitamin K is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins, it’s best to eat it with a bit of fat. This helps to increase absorption from the food into your body.

If you do want to supplement, make sure you follow the label directionsand speak with your physician beforehand. Vitamin K can interact with several types of medications, such as the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin) and you need to proceed with caution.

Kale has a super abundance of both K1 and K2, so you know what the weekly recipe is now, don't you.

Recipe: Kale - Apple Coleslaw with Poppy Seed dressing

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons EVOO

1/3 cup small-dice red onion (about 1/4 medium onion)

For the coleslaw:

1 pound flat-leaf kale (about 2 bunches)

2 medium Granny Smith or Fuji apples, or 1 of each

So easy to make, and if you don't want to make your own dressing, get Brianna's Poppy Seed salad dressing - very good

You can use flat-leaf kale (Lacinato), chopped kale or baby kale - whichever you prefer

I use one of each type of apple, tart and sweet

Cut the apples into match sticks and toss in a large bowl with 2 good handfuls of kale, and some dressing (amount to your liking).

The great thing about this salad is that you can make it a day ahead of time and store in the fridge until you are ready to eat. Enjoy!

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