Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, known mostly for its role in forming blood clots.
It’s pretty rare to get a severe vitamin K deficiency, it typically only happens with a malabsorption disorder or being malnourished for a period of time.
Vitamin K refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins. The 2 that are found in most people are K1 and K2:
- Vitamin K1 is the most dominant (75-90% of total vitamin K) and is found mostly in typical plant foods like leafy greens.
- Vitamin K2 is mostly found in animal products and fermented food. It’s also produced by bacteria in your gut, so it’s not essential to get it from your diet.
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How Much Vitamin K Do You Need Per Day
You should be aiming for 90 to 120 mcg of vitamin K per day (the RDA).
It’s very easy to get this amount without trying. You can get 2+ times the RDA in a single serving of certain vegetables.
Unlike certain other fat-soluble nutrients, there’s no upper limit currently set for vitamin K. Essentially, you don’t have to worry about getting too much from food (although taking too many vitamin K supplements could be an issue).
The Top Vegan Vitamin K Whole Food Sources Per Serving
To create this list, I extracted data from the USDA’s food nutrition database for over 100 whole foods that are vegan.
This is the result when sorting in terms of vitamin K content.
|Food||Vitamin K (mcg) per 100 grams||Vitamin K (mcg) per 100 calories|
|Lettuce (red leaf)||140||1084|
|Green bell pepper||7||37|
|Red bell pepper||5||19|
|Wheat flour (whole-grain)||2||1|
The best vitamin K foods are almost entirely vegetables, with the exception of a few fruits like plantains and blackberries, and pine nuts.
Have a salad every day or two and you’ll be fine.
The Best Types of Plant-Based Foods for Vitamin K
Any dark leafy green will give you plenty of vitamin K in a single serving. But just about any vegetable in general will give you enough to high your RDA.
Let’s look at a few other types of plants that are good other than leafy greens:
- Broccoli – Known for being a great source of many vitamins, vitamin K included.
- Cashews – One of the only non-vegetable foods to make the list above is cashews with 35 micrograms of vitamin K per 100 grams. You probably won’t meet your RDA alone with cashews, but they can be a nice addition to salads or soups.
- Pine nuts – Similar to cashews, pine nuts make a great addition on top of meals.
One final thing to consider is that vitamin K is often added to foods (fortified). So even if you are the type of person who hates vegetables for some reason and lives off of pre-prepared foods, you can still get enough vitamin K in most cases (I wouldn’t recommend it though).