Vitamin K is an essential nutrient. It is important for blood clotting, which makes it vital in the wound healing process. It is also involved in bone and heart health.
Luckily, a vitamin K deficiency is rare since the body does not need a lot of it. However, not eating enough vitamin K can lead to bleeding, weaker bones, and increased risk of heart disease.
Vitamin K that is not used immediately is stored in the liver for future use, so it is not necessary to consume it all the time.
In most individuals, a daily value of 120 mcg is enough. However, a more specific guideline is to consume at least 1 mcg of vitamin K each day per kilogram of body weight. Many people consume much more, with the average being about 122 mcg for women and 138 mcg for men.
Vitamin K that is not used immediately is stored in the liver for future use, so it is not necessary to consume it all the time. As a result, supplements are not useful for this vitamin. Instead, there are plenty of vitamin K foods that can implement it in the diet.
Keep reading to see the top foods that are high in vitamin K.
Foods High in Vitamin K
There are plenty of vitamin K-rich foods that form part of most healthy, balanced diets.
There are actually two types of vitamin K: K1 and K2.
Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, is found primarily in plant-based sources, especially green, leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is typically found in animal sources and fermented foods like natto.
It’s also possible to find vitamin K within legumes and nuts, such as pine nuts and hazelnuts.
Below is a list of vitamin K-rich foods, broken down by food group.
Animal-Sourced Products High in Vitamin K
Many of these meat products are high in vitamin K contain K2. As well as meat, some forms of dairy are quite high in vitamin K, too.
1. Beef Liver
Although liver is not one of the most popular foods, it’s a great source of nutrients. Beef liver contains plenty of vitamin K, alongside B12, vitamin A, iron, and more.
Try sauteeing it with onions to make it a more pleasurable dining experience. Bear in mind that liver is relatively high in cholesterol.
- 100g: 106 mcg (88% DV)
- 1 slice: 72 mcg (60% DV)
2. Pork Chops
Pork chops are another great source of vitamin K for meat-eaters. Serve them with hearty grains for a really healthy, rounded meal.
- 100g: 69 mcg (57% DV)
- 3oz: 59 mcg (49% DV)
Chicken is really easy to fit into any diet. It’s very versatile, and chicken breasts are pretty low-calorie. They’re also leaner than red meats and sometimes considered a healthier option.
- 100g: 60 mcg (50% DV)
- 3oz: 51 mcg (43% DV)
4. Goose Liver
Foie gras, or goose liver paste, is an excellent source of phosphorus, zinc, and various B vitamins. It also contains a high quantity of vitamin K per serving. While you are unlikely to eat 100g of it, just one tablespoon is enough to provide nearly half of the daily value.
- 100g: 369 mcg (308% DV)
- 1 tbsp: 48 mcg (40% DV)
Various types of cheese are quite high in vitamin K. Hard cheeses tend to be more abundant than soft cheese, with Jarlsberg cheese offering a whopping 19% of the Daily Value per slice. Bear in mind that the exact quantity varies depending on the cheese.
- 100g: 13 mcg – 87 mcg (11-72%)
- 1oz: 3.7 mcg – 25 mcg (3-20%)
Although it has a bad reputation, bacon can be pretty nutritional. It contains plenty of protein, of course, alongside a variety of B vitamins, selenium, and phosphorus. It should be consumed in moderation because it can be fatty, but when occasionally incorporated into the diet, bacon can provide a great nutrition profile.
- 100g: 35 mcg (29% DV)
- 3oz: 30 mcg (25% DV)
7. Duck Breast
Duck breast is not only delicious, but it also contains lots of nutrients, including healthy fats, niacin, magnesium, vitamin B12, and zinc. It also contains a little vitamin K.
- 100g: 5.5 mcg (5%)
- 3oz: 4.7 mcg (4% DV)
8. Egg Yolk
Egg yolks, specifically, contain a decent quantity of vitamin K. One large egg yolk contains 5% of the daily value. Anyone who has eggs in their regular diet can benefit from this easy way to increase vitamin K.
- 100g: 34 mcg (29% DV)
- 1 large: 5.8 mcg (5% DV)
9. Whole Milk
Whole milk contains some vitamin K. It’s also packed with calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. While whole milk is fattier than skimmed varieties, it contains more vitamin K than its counterparts.
- 100g: 1.3 mcg (1% DV)
- 1 cup: 3.2 mcg (3% DV)
Vegetables High in Vitamin K
Green, leafy vegetables contain lots of vitamin K. Specifically, they contain lots of vitamin K1. The best vegetables with vitamin K are listed below.
Kale is known as the king of vitamin K, and it’s also a superfood. As well as vitamin K, it contains calcium, potassium, and folate. It can be incorporated into the diet through smoothies or salads.
- 100g: 817 mcg (681% DV)
- ½ cup: 531 mcg (443% DV)
2. Collard Greens
Collard greens are another plant renowned for vitamin K content. They are also rich in vitamin A, C, and manganese. They’re easy to serve as a side dish, too.
- 100g: 407 mcg (339% DV)
- ½ cup: 386 mcg (322% DV)
Raw spinach is loaded with vitamin K. Like kale, it can be worked into the diet via smoothies, salads, and wraps.
- 100g: 483 mcg (402% DV)
- 1 cup: 145 mcg (121% DV)
4. Turnip Greens
Turnips are a popular side dish, with the greens also featuring in Southeastern United States dishes. They are high in calcium and vitamin K, making them excellent for bone health.
- 1/2 cup: 425 mcg (354% DV)
- 100g: 249 mcg (207% DV)
5. Brussels Sprouts
Although Brussels sprouts are not everybody’s favorite, they can be made tasty by dousing them in sauces and pairing with bacon, another vitamin K option.
- 100g: 140 mcg (117% DV)
- ½ cup: 109 mcg (91% DV)
Cooked broccoli remains high in vitamin K. It’s also very versatile, which makes it easy to add to the diet.
- 100g: 141 mcg (118% DV)
- ½ cup: 110 mcg (92% DV)
Asparagus is a fantastic seasonal vegetable for the summer. It’s packed with vitamin K, with just four spears containing 33% of the daily value. Steam it and serve alongside meat or fish as a side.
- 100g: 65 mcg (54% DV)
- ½ cup: 72 mcg (33% DV)
As a super popular ingredient in wraps and salads, lettuce makes it easy to incorporate vitamin K into the diet. Different varieties may contain varying amounts.
- 100g: 140 mcg (117% DV)
- ½ head iceberg: 60 mcg (50% DV)
Sauerkraut is an excellent source of probiotics, making it popular in the health community. It also contains protein and vitamin K. Add to hot dogs or stews for a punch of flavor.
- 100g: 25 mcg (21% DV)
- ½ cup: 56 mcg (47% DV)
Soybeans in various forms are high in vitamin K. The amount varies depending on the format, but edamame beans, roasted soybeans, natto, and more are all pretty high in it.
- 100g cooked soybeans: 33 mcg (28% DV)
- ½ cup: 16 mcg (13% DV)
Those who like to snack on pickles will be glad to know that they contain some vitamin K2. They also contain a very low number of calories.
- Per cucumber pickle: 25 mcg (21% DV)
Fruits High in Vitamin K
Some fruits are also high in vitamin K. They are great for working into the diet via snacking and healthy desserts. Below are some of the best vitamin K-rich fruits, though there are plenty more that also offer some of this nutrient.
This autumnal fruit is perfect for soups, desserts, and breakfast recipes. Luckily, it’s packed with vitamin K.
- 100g: 34 mcg (28% DV)
- ½ cup canned: 20 mcg (17% DV)
Blueberries are loaded with nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin K. There are also small amounts of other nutrients.
- 100g: 19 mcg (16% DV)
- ½ cup: 14 mcg (12% DV)
Prunes, made from dried plums, are a relatively healthy fruit. They may be high in sugar, but the nutrient content could make up for this.
- 100g: 60 mcg (50% DV)
- 5 pieces: 28 mcg (24% DV)
Kiwis are a versatile fruit that can be added to smoothies or fruit salads. They are rich in flavor as well as vitamin K.
- 100g: 40 mcg (34% DV)
- 1 fruit: 28 mcg (23% DV)
Avocado is technically a fruit, and it’s one that is high in vitamin K. To consume them, mash on toast, serve with poached eggs, or add to wraps and sandwiches.
- 100g: 21 mcg (18% DV)
- ½ medium avocado: 21 mcg (18% DV)
Another seasonal product, pomegranate is an excellent source of vitamin K for such a small fruit. It’s easy to add pomegranate to the diet, by sprinkling the seeds on eggs for a Lebanese touch or adding to dishes like tabbouleh and pilaf.
- 100g: 16 mcg (14% DV)
- ½ cup: 14 mcg (12% DV)
Summary on Vitamin K Foods
There are lots of vitamin K sources loaded with this nutrient. Since vitamin K deficiency is rare and the body can store it, supplements are not necessary. Most people get enough vitamin K from the diet.
The foods in this list are versatile and really easy to incorporate into the diet. Hopefully, it provides the necessary inspiration to make a healthier change and eat plenty of leafy greens.