Top Vitamin K–Rich Foods That Support Healthy Bones, Blood, and More

And there’s a trick to absorbing more vitamin K from what you eat.

When people think of vitamin K, they often relate it to blood clotting—and this is an accurate association because this vitamin is required in the synthesis of several blood proteins involved in clotting. Another key role of vitamin K is the activation of proteins needed for bone metabolism (the replenishment of bone tissue). We asked experts to help us explain more about why this vitamin is essential to your health, and we have also rounded up the best food sources of vitamin K to help you keep your intake steady.

What Is Vitamin K

Vitamin K is the collective name of a family of compounds. "There are different categories within vitamin K," says Rayanne Nguyen, RD, a specialist in sports nutrition. "You have vitamin K1, which is found in dark leafy greens and soybean oil and also vitamin K2 and some others, which can be found in smaller amounts in animal products." Fermented foods also contain vitamin K2.

How to Improve Absorption

As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin K from food is best absorbed when there's fat or oil in the same environment. So when you're having your green vegetables, toss them in some oil to increase your intake. However, some people with underlying health conditions may need more help and possibly a supplement to improve their nutrient absorption.

"If someone has a disease that impacts the gastrointestinal tract, like celiac disease or Crohn's disease, they may not absorb the vitamin K from their food as well," says Nguyen. In these cases, the physician and dietitian would monitor the person's vitamin K levels more regularly and may start them on a supplement.

Precautions

There are people who need to be more mindful about their intake of vitamin K-rich foods. Since vitamin K supports blood clotting, if you are on a medication to prevent clotting, sudden increases in vitamin K intake may interfere with your medication, says Nijya Saffo, RD, owner of NK Fitness and Nutrition, LLC.

"There's no evidence that you have to stop eating vitamin K foods when you're on these kinds of medications, but you don't want to overdo it and suddenly start taking vitamin K supplements or eat large amounts of foods with vitamin K in it." Speak with your doctor if you are taking blood thinners before you dramatically alter your diet by either eliminating or adding foods high in vitamin K.

Daily Recommended Value

So how much vitamin K do you need? The unofficial daily value for vitamin K is between 90 and 120 micrograms. For context, one cup of raw spinach contains more than 100% of the daily recommended value, so you don't need to eat much of the foods listed below to consume a healthy amount of vitamin K. While a consistent intake is important, you don't want to overdo it.

Your body treats vitamin K like fat and stores it in your liver and fat tissues. "We can rely on our body stores a little bit more than [we can for] some of our water-soluble vitamins," says Nguyen. But at the same time, your body isn't able to make enough vitamin K consistently and relies on you getting it from your diet.

Foods High in Vitamin K

01 of 09

Kale

Smoky Kale Chips Recipe
Jennifer Causey

There are 113 micrograms of vitamin K in a cup of uncooked kale, providing 94 percent of the DV. Roast your kale with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt to enjoy a crunchy, high-vitamin K snack.

02 of 09

Collard Greens

Collard Greens With Bacon
In this Southern staple, salty bacon adds a meaty heft to wilted collard greens. Get the recipe. Jonny Valiant

This is a sign to whip out a Southern-style collard greens recipe now and again. A half-cup serving of cooked collard greens provides over 400 percent of the DV of vitamin K (530 micrograms).

03 of 09

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard and Cheddar Quiche
This anything-but-basic quiche—filled with cheese, Swiss chard, and onions—makes a great light dinner when served with a green salad. Get the recipe: Swiss Chard and Cheddar Quiche. Charles Masters

These bitter greens seem to have an edge when it comes to vitamin K. There are 286 micrograms in half a cup of cooked Swiss chard (over 200 percent of the DV).

04 of 09

Spinach

Shrimp Pil Pil With Spinach
Greg DuPree

If you prefer something with a milder, less bitter flavor, a cup of uncooked spinach is another option with 145 micrograms of vitamin k (121 percent of the DV).

05 of 09

Broccoli

Roasted Broccoli and White Bean Salad with Dijon-Caper Dressing
Con Poulos

Just half a cup of cooked broccoli already contains 110 micrograms of vitamin K or 92 percent of the DV. Pair it with some cheese (fat!) to boost vitamin K absorption.

06 of 09

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts Salad
Heami Lee

Brussels sprouts contain 109 micrograms of vitamin K in half a cup, which meets 91 percent of the DV. Toss these in olive oil and salt, and roast until tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

07 of 09

Romaine Lettuce

Grilled Halloumi Salad
There are a few reasons why this delicious grilled halloumi cheese salad is going to become your summer dinner fave. First, it’s easy to throw together after work, and still manages to be super filling. Second, it hits all the right flavor notes, from briny olives to spicy garlic and cool, crunchy cucumbers. But, the most important reason to make this salad is to eat grilled halloumi, a firm cheese that can stand the heat of a grill or grill pan. The taste is salty like feta, but you can cut into the planks of crispy, melty cheese with a knife and fork like you would tofu or a portobello mushroom. Get the recipe: Grilled Halloumi Salad. Greg DuPree

Having a large salad with two cups of romaine lettuce (hello, caesar salad!) would give you 115 micrograms, or 130 percent of the DV, of vitamin K.

08 of 09

Parsley

Parsley Shoestring Fries
Victor Protasio

Garnishing your bowl of soup with one tablespoon of fresh parsley offers you 62 micrograms, 50 percent of your daily vitamin K needs.

09 of 09

Prunes

fruit-nut-energy-bars-0219miy tout
Jennifer Causey

If you're already having a daily dose of prunes for gut health, you'd be pleased to know it also offers vitamin K. A snack of six prunes contains 35 micrograms or 30 percent of the DV.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles