Experienced any recent nose bleeds? Or have you suddenly started bruising a tad too easy? Or is that brushing ritual making you gums bleed like nobody’s business? If you’ve been nodding all the way, there’s news we have for you: you might be vitamin K deficient.
How To Tell If You Have Vitamin K Deficiency?
Simply speaking, if you have less of vitamin K, you tend to bleed a lot more than a normal person .
- Risk of uncontrolled bleeding: A simple wound can put you at a significant risk of losing too much blood since vitamin K is what our body needs to clot the blood and begin the process of healing, after first sealing off the wound to prevent blood loss or exposure of the body’s internal tissues to bacteria and such.
- Hematomas: The blue, green or yellow spots that form on the skin often as a result of a bruise – basically due to blood pooling underneath the skin.
- Petechiae: Purple spots on the skin due to broken capillaries, often after a forceful event such as excessive coughing, sneezing, childbirth or even a hickey.
- Steady bleeding: Oozing of blood at surgical or puncture sites, wounds or even minor cuts and even unexplained stomach pains with blood in the urine or stool. Even very heavy periods could be a symptom.
- Hardened cartilage: Cartilage calcification where the body starts depositing excess calcium onto the bones and cartilages, hardening them beyond human need.
- Birth defects: In infants, a vitamin K deficiency can cause some birth defects such as underdeveloped face, nose, bones, and fingers and even intracranial bleeding and hemorrhage.
Why is Vitamin K so important to us?
Vitamin K is not a vitamin the body can synthesize so we need to ingest it from other sources, the healthiest being vitamin K foods. But let’s first understand all the good things that this vitamin does in our bodies. 
- Blood Clotting: So obviously, the most important role that vitamin K plays in our bodies is by restricting blood flow from outside the capillaries, be it from external wounds or internal ones as it is used by the liver to make prothrombin aka the clotting factor.
- Prevents Arterial Hardening: Vitamin K, rather vitamin K2 is known for its ability to prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls and thus helps protect your blood pressure and heart as well .
- Is Kind To Your Bones: Vitamin K acts like a glue of sorts and helps calcium stick to the bones by aiding the prevention of osteoporosis and also raising levels of osteocalcin, the bone building chemical in our bodies 
- May Prevent Cancer: Certain studies have shown that vitamin K is also helpful in preventing cancer cell growth and may later become a vital aid in cancer cure. 
- Vitamin K plays an essential role in anti-ageing by keeping our brain active and agile, and may also have Alzheimer’s fighting properties. 
Studies are on to also prove the role of vitamin K in insulin sensitivity and to see if it can aid in diabetes prevention. So basically, vitamin K is a very important nutrient for the body, with many uses of it other than blood clotting.
Vitamin K Foods That You Must Include In Your Diet
The first thing to note is that vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin which means a little healthy fat, along with the vitamin K foods you eat, is essential for its absorption. According to experts, men need at least 120 mcgs (micrograms) of vitamin K per day, and women need at least 90 mcgs. So here are the ten vitamin K foods you can include in your diet that contain good amounts of this essential nutrient.
Also remember that if you are on warfarin therapy, clear these foods with your doctor as warfarin and vitamin K often collide .
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy green veggies are known for being a rich source of antioxidants, iron as well as fiber, but they are also high in vitamin K. . Think kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, spinach and leaf lettuce.
Dark leafy greens such as kale, mustard greens and spinach contain about 250 to 450 mcg of vitamin K per 1/2 cup of cooked greens.
Lighter leafy greens such as salad leaves contain 100-300 mcg per cup of raw leaves .Here are some exciting recipes to get in those leafy greens.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and even cabbage and cauliflower are high in vitamin K, other than providing antioxidants, fiber, minerals and other vitamins needed to support good health. 
Half a cup of cooked broccoli or Brussels sprouts has about 220 mcg of vitamin K each.
The same serving of cabbage has about 80mcg. Here are some interesting recipes for you to try cokking at home.
3. Prunes and Berries
Fruits are bursting with fiber and all the goodness of phytonutrients – plus they are a good source of carbohydrates as well. .
A 1/4 cup of prunes has 26 mcg, along with tons of fiber.
A cup of blueberries or blackberries has 29 mcgs.
All you have to do is to eat them raw, or even sprinkle some over your daily breakfast cereal fix.
4. Healthy Oils & Fats
Canola and soybean oil contain 20-27 micrograms of vitamin K per tablespoon while other vegetable oils, have just two to four mcgs. Mayonnaise and margarine contain moderate levels of vitamin K as well.
5. Green Herbs
Green herbs that burst with antioxidant properties that help keep our internal ageing in check also contain plenty of vitamin K. .
100 gms of parsley contains 164mcg, coriander contains 310 mcg and basil 410mcg. Time to take out those pestles and make some delicious chutneys. Here’s a good coriander and parsley pesto, and here are some good basil recipes as well.
For the natto virgins here, it is a Japanese fermented soy dish, mostly had as breakfast.  Known to be acquired taste, natto is made by soaking whole soybeans, then steaming or boiling them, and afterwards adding the bacteria Bacillus subtilis to the mixture; after which it is fermented over time.
3.5 ounces of natto contains 1000mcg of vitamin K!
Miso soups, yet another dish made from fermented soy, contains about 15-30mcg per serving.
Here’s a video on how to make natto…
As Hippocrates put it, food is medicine so make sure you include these vitamin K foods in your diet to ensure good health.
Featured photo credit: Healthy Protocols via healthyprotocols.com
|||^||MSD Manuals: Vitamin K Deficiency|
|||^||Mercola: Vitamin K|
|||^||Life Extension: Vitamin K Protection Against Arterial Calcification|
|||^||Amazon: The Calcium Lie|
|||^||Nutraceutical Business Review: Vitamin K2 New Research Con firms Essential Role In Heart Health|
|||^||Alzheimers: Vitamin K Alzheimers Prevention|
|||^||Clot Care: Vitamin K and Warfarin|
|||^||Vegetarian Nutrition: Green Leafy Vegetables|
|||^||Web MD: Super Veggies Cruciferous|
|||^||SF Gate: Eating Prunes|
|||^||The Health Site: Health Benefits of Herbs|
|||^||Dr. Axe: Natto|