The best vegetables that have low amount of vitamin K include celery, spinach, and lettuce. These vegetables are high in Vitamin A and contain good amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin E too.
Fruits and Vegetables That Are Low in Vitamin K
Beets are low in vitamin K.
Image Credit: Claudia Totir/Moment/GettyImages
If you are taking blood thinners or anticoagulants for a medical condition, you may need to monitor your intake of vitamin K-rich foods. Vitamin K plays an essential role in the chemical process of forming blood clots in your body. What you eat and drink has the potential to affect how your medication works. Too much vitamin K could interfere with the drugs you are taking and make them ineffective, causing dangerous unintended consequences to your health.
What Is Vitamin K?
Whenever you are injured, whether it is a paper cut or a serious laceration, your body calls upon vitamin K to help protect you from uncontrolled bleeding. Vitamin K is responsible for blood coagulation and is crucial for the formation of blood clots, which are required for the repair of damaged vessels.
Vitamin K actually comprises of two fat-soluble components: vitamin K1— phylloquinone, and vitamin K2 — menaquinone. Vitamin K1 is the main dietary form found primarily in green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2 is present in animal-based and fermented foods and also produced by bacteria in your colon.
Your body stores vitamin K in your liver, brain, heart, pancreas and bones. A deficiency in vitamin K may have a negative effect on proper bone metabolism and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Vitamin K Interactions
Vitamin K combined with anticoagulant medications has the potential to cause a serious and dangerous outcome. Warfarin (Coumadin) is the most well-known blood thinner, but other forms of this type of medication include phenprocoumon, acenocoumarol and tioclomarol. These drugs are prescribed if you are at risk of easily and too quickly forming blood clots, which could become dislodged and obstruct the flow of blood to your heart, lungs or brain.
Warfarin works against vitamin K by decreasing its activity. Since vitamin K is essential for clot-making factors in your liver, it’s important to keep your vitamin K intake as consistent as possible in order for warfarin to work properly. Suddenly eating foods high in vitamin K may decrease the effect of warfarin.
The Warfarin Diet
When taking warfarin, the food you eat can have an affect on how effective the drug is in controlling coagulation. To balance your risk of excessive bleeding against the risk of clotting, your doctor will need to monitor how long it takes your blood to form a clot using laboratory measurements called the International Normalised Ratio or INR, and Prothrombin Time, or PT.
When the INR reading is too high, it means that your blood is too thin, and you are at a higher risk for bleeding. If the INR is too low, your blood is too thick and you may be at a higher risk for developing a blood clot.
In other words, eating too much vitamin K rich foods can decrease your INR. This means you will lower the level of warfarin in your body and be more likely to form a blood clot. Conversely, if you consume less vitamin K rich foods, it can increase your INR and help protect you from blood clotting.
Consistency Is the Key
When taking warfarin, you do not need to avoid foods that contain vitamin K, but you do need to be consistent in the amount of your intake. The important part of a warfarin diet is that you don’t make big changes to how much or what you eat in your diet.
For example, if you don’t normally eat spinach every day, which is high in vitamin K, don’t suddenly indulge by consuming a huge spinach salad. Having a cheat day could result in a harmful consequence.
For this reason, it’s important to know the vitamin K content in all the foods you enjoy and know how much you can eat to stay healthy and keep your INR in check.
How Much Can You Eat?
You should not avoid foods containing vitamin K because they are part of a healthy balanced nutrient-rich diet. Your goal should be to eat a relatively similar amount of vitamin K each week. Be mindful of portions and discuss your regular diet with your doctor in case your warfarin dosage needs to be adjusted.
For optimal health, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a daily intake of 90 micrograms of vitamin K for adult women and 120 milligrams for adult men. Keeping your daily value (DV) within this range on a consistent basis will help keep your PT/INR levels stable.
Vegetables Low in Vitamin K
To help manage your diet, choose from a variety of vegetables low in vitamin K. Food containing the lowest amounts of vitamin K — less than 14 percent DV, per 1-cup serving, include:
- Turnips (raw or cooked) — 0.1 micrograms
- Beets (raw or cooked) — 0.3 micrograms
- Sweet Corn (raw or cooked) — 0.5 micrograms
- Onion (raw or cooked) — 1 microgram per 1 medium onion
- Rutabagas (raw or cooked) — 0.5 micrograms
- Pumpkin (cooked) — 2 micrograms
- Winter squash(cooked) — 2 micrograms
- Summer squash (cooked) — 3 micrograms
- Eggplants (cooked) — 3 micrograms
- Bamboo shoots (raw or canned) — 0 micrograms
- Mushrooms (raw or cooked) — 0 micrograms
- Tomatoes (cooked) — 7 micrograms
- Tomatoes (raw) — 14 micrograms
- Cucumbers (raw) — 17 micrograms
- Iceberg lettuce (raw) — 17.4 micrograms
Fruits Low in Vitamin K
You can also enjoy many fruits low in vitamin K that will not significantly impact your PT/INR levels. Fruits that contain a minimal amount — less than 3 percent DV — of vitamin K per cup include :
- Watermelon — 0.2 micrograms
- Litchis — 0.8 micrograms
- Bananas — 0.6 micrograms
- Pineapple — 1.2 micrograms
- Apples — 4 micrograms per fruit
- Nectarines — 3 micrograms per fruit
- Strawberries — 3 micrograms
- Peaches — 4 micrograms per fruit
Limit or avoid citrus fruits and use caution when eating blueberries, mangoes and pomegranate, which can affect PT/INR.
Grains Low in Vitamin K
All grain products contain very little or no vitamin K. White rice, plain pasta, whole-wheat bread and quinoa can be good choices because they do not provide any vitamin K to your diet. Some examples of starches low in vitamin K — 1 percent DV or less — per 1-cup serving, are:
- Brown rice — 0.4 micrograms
- Couscous — 0.2 micrograms
- Cornmeal — 0.4 milligrams
- Bulgar — 0.9 milligrams
- Pearl Barley — 1.3 micrograms
- Millet — 0.5 micrograms
Meat and Other Foods
Meat generally is low in vitamin K, except canned fish packed in oil and abalone. Dairy products, including eggs, are also low in vitamin K. Most beans and legumes, with the exception of black-eyed peas, soy and green beans are low in vitamin K.
Foods to Limit or Avoid
Some foods, especially green leafy vegetables, contain a very high content —over 200 to 450 percent DV — of vitamin K per half-cup serving. You should limit these foods to one serving a day and not combine them with other foods containing vitamin K on your Coumadin diet. Some of these foods include:
- Boiled kale —442 percent DV
- Boiled spinach — 370 percent DV
- Boiled collard greens —332 percent DV
- Boiled Swiss chard — 239 percent DV
Some other foods that you should limit to no more than three servings per day contain 40 to 100 percent of your DV per cup:
- Raw endive — 96 percent DV
- Boiled Brussels sprouts — 91 percent DV
- Raw broccoli — 77 percent DV
- Romaine lettuce — 40 percent DV
If you eat more foods rich in vitamin K, or change your diet in any way, you should check your blood more frequently and work with your doctor to find the right dose of warfarin for you.
Foods That Are Low in Vitamin K
People who are on certain blood thinners, including warfarin, need to keep a consistent intake of vitamin K. These medications work by interfering with the blood-clotting function of vitamin K, so eating much more or less vitamin K on any given day could be dangerous and cause your blood to clot too easily or make you more likely to bleed too much. Eating mainly foods low in vitamin K can help keep your intake stable.
Vitamin K and Vegetables
Although green leafy vegetables are very high in vitamin K, there are still plenty of vegetables with low vitamin K to choose from. Red bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes, summer squash, winter squash, rutabagas, onions, corn, artichokes, iceberg lettuce, beets, turnips and mushrooms are all OK on a low vitamin K diet. Peas, asparagus, avocados and broccoli are high in vitamin K, so you’ll want to limit or avoid these vegetables.
Low Vitamin K Fruits
Cranberries and grapefruit can interfere with blood thinners, but you can still eat peaches, strawberries, oranges, watermelon, apples, bananas, pineapple, nectarines and litchis. Honeydew, apricots, fruit cocktail and mangoes are also low in vitamin K. You should avoid rhubarb, kiwi, stewed prunes, blueberries and blackberries, as these are relatively high in vitamin K.
Protein and Grains
You can eat all dairy foods, eggs and all beans except for soybeans and green beans when you’re following a low vitamin K diet. You can also eat most types of meat, but you should limit or avoid abalone and fish canned in oil.
When you’re watching your vitamin K intake, most grains are fine. You can eat white or brown rice, pasta, barley, bulgur, cornmeal, couscous, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and whole-wheat bread.
Enjoy oatmeal with a banana, milk and orange juice for breakfast. For lunch, try a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread with mustard, iceberg lettuce and tomato along with a cup of tomato soup and an apple. Serve pasta with sauce and meatballs with a side of corn and a bowl of strawberries for dinner.
What Are the Benefits of Green Tomatoes?
Green tomatoes are unripe tomatoes that have not yet turned red. They are less sweet than ripe red tomatoes, and are more common cooked rather than raw. Even though they are biologically immature, green tomatoes are high in essential nutrients and can be a beneficial component of your diet.
Lower Blood Pressure
Green tomatoes support healthy blood pressure — a large tomato contains only 24 milligrams of sodium. A high-sodium diet can cause high blood pressure and increase your risk for stroke, and most fresh vegetables are low in sodium. Potassium counteracts the effects of sodium and helps to lower your blood pressure, and a large green tomato also provides 371 milligrams of potassium. Healthy adults should get at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium and no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
Lower Heart Disease Risk
Eating green tomatoes can help lower your risk for heart disease because of their dietary fiber. Consuming a high-fiber diet can lower your risk for heart disease, and a large green tomato provides 2 grams of fiber. Healthy adults should eat at least 14 grams of dietary fiber for each 1,000 calories, but the average adult gets less than half that amount, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Soluble fiber can lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of developing heart disease, and 10 percent of the fiber in tomatoes is soluble.
Best foods for vitamin K
Vitamin K is an essential vitamin that the body uses to help the blood clot, create healthy bones, and keep the heart strong. There are many foods that provide the body with vitamin K, so having a deficiency is rare.
A vitamin K deficiency is serious and can lead to a range of health issues. Even getting less than the recommended dosage over a prolonged period may be bad for a person’s overall health, and could lead to problems such as:
- low bone mineral density
- heart disease
- tooth decay
- easy bleeding or difficulty clotting blood
- certain types of cancer
- vascular calcification
- cognitive impairment
The recommended intake of vitamin K is at least 90 micrograms (mcg) a day for women and at least 120 mcg a day for men. Most people can easily achieve these levels by adding the foods below to a balanced, healthful diet.
Foods high in vitamin K
There are two types of vitamin K: vitamin K-1 and vitamin K-2. Vitamin K-1 is present in a higher number of foods and is particularly abundant in green vegetables and the oils of some plants.
Vitamin K-2 is found in just a few animal sources and some fermented vegetables, such as natto, a fermented soybean dish.
Listed below are some of the foods that contain high levels of vitamin K. It is important to note that the levels of vitamin K are measured per 100 grams (g) of food. Although some of the herbs, such as basil and thyme, seem to contain very high amounts of vitamin K, it is unlikely that a person would use such large quantities while cooking.
Foods high in vitamin K-1
100 g of the following foods contain high levels of Vitamin K-1.
- cooked spinach – 540.7 mcg
- cooked kale – 418.5 mcg
- cooked mustard greens – 592.7 mcg
- cooked collard greens – 623.2mcg
- cooked beet greens – 484 mcg
- raw swiss chard – 830 mcg
- raw dandelion greens – 778.4 mcg
- cooked turnip greens – 518.9 mcg
- broccoli – 141.1 mcg
- cooked cabbage – 108.7 mcg
- raw arugula – 108.6 mcg
- dried basil –1714.5 mcg
- dried sage – 1714.5 mcg
- dried thyme – 1714.5 mcg
- dried marjoram – 621.7 mcg
- dried oregano – 621.7 mcg
- fresh parsley – 1640 mcg
- dried coriander leaf – 1359.5 mcg
- endives –231 mcg
- chives – 212.7 mcg
- raw cress – 541.9 mcg
- cooked brussel sprouts – 193.5 mcg
- red leaf lettuce – 140.3 mcg
- green leaf lettuce –126.3 mcg
- soybean oil – 183.9 mcg
- mayonnaise – 163 mcg
- margarine – 101.3 mcg
Foods high in vitamin K-2
100 g of the following foods contain high levels of vitamin K-2.
- natto – 939 mcg
- goose liver – 369 mcg
- beef liver –106 mcg
- turkey sausage – 36.6 mcg
- chicken meat –35.7 mcg
- turkey frankfurter – 31.2 mcg
- salami – 28 mcg
- pepperoni – 41.7 mcg
- soft cheese – 506 mcg
- blue cheese – 440 mcg
- hard cheese – 282 mcg
- full-fat milk – 38.1 mcg
- bacon – 35 mcg
Health benefits of vitamin K
Adding more vitamin K-rich foods to the diet may have some protective benefits. One studyTrusted Source noted that people who had a higher intake of vitamin K-2 had a reduced risk of cancer.
Vitamin K-2 also appears to improve bone quality, which could lead to a reduction in broken bones. As a 2017 reviewTrusted Source noted, bone density is not always affected by vitamin K-2 intake, but people who took vitamin supplements that included calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K-2 were 25 percent less likely to have a bone fracture in their lifetime.
The same review also noted the importance of vitamin K for keeping insulin levels balanced. Participants who took vitamin K-1 supplements showed improved insulin resistance in one study. Another study indicated that an increased intake of vitamin K-1 led to a decreased risk of developing diabetes.
While consuming more vitamin K may help improve glycemic control in some people, it should not replace any medications for diabetes.
Vitamin K may play also play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, as older adults taking vitamin K were foundTrusted Source to have improved cognitive abilities and less difficulty recalling memories.
How to add vitamin K to your diet
While most dietary guidelines to do not currently differentiate between vitamins K-1 and K-2, it may be best to provide the body with sources of both types.
Most people eating a balanced diet rich in whole fruits and vegetables are sure to get enough vitamin K in their diets, especially vitamin K-1. One of the simplest ways to include additional vitamin K-1 into the diet is to eat dark, leafy greens.
Vitamin K-2 may be more challenging to incorporate into a healthful diet, as it is found most commonly in meat and animal products. Healthful gut bacteria produce some vitamin K-2, but the best way to ensure the body gets enough is by eating it. Common sources of vitamin K-2 include meat, liver, and some dairy products.
While meat and dairy eaters can often find sources that contain vitamin K-2, vegetarians and vegans may be limited. A Japanese fermented soybean dish called natto is an excellent source of vitamin K-2.