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.
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).