The richest foods in vitamin K are dark leafy greens, fermented foods, chicken, and certain cheeses. As there aren’t too many common foods high in vitamin K2, many people may benefit from taking a vitamin K2 supplement.
How much vitamin K do we need a day?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin K is 90 mcg for women and 120 mcg for men.
Actually, there are two types of vitamin K: vitamin K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is mainly found in plant-based foods (dark leafy greens, in particular), while vitamin K2 is naturally present in animal-based foods.
Furthermore, the human body can synthesize some vitamin K2. Good bacteria in the gut can convert the abundant vitamin K1 into vitamin K2.
If you’re following a healthy, well-balanced diet, you shouldn’t worry about your daily vitamin K intake.
Foods rich in vitamin K1
The best dietary sources of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables.
Foods rich in vitamin K are collards greens, spinach, parsley, coriander leaf, lambs quarters (known as wild spinach), turnip greens, oregano, basil, marjoram, mustard greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, dandelion, cress, kale, stinging nettles, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions, and cabbage.
|Vitamin K1 |
(mcg per 100g)
|Coriander leaf, |
|Amaranth leaves, |
Other common plant-based foods containing decent amounts of vitamin K are sweet potato leaves, chicory greens, lettuce, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, arugula, carrots, green beans, pine nuts, seaweeds like kelp, and blueberries.
Additionally, many spices, such as black pepper, red pepper, chili powder, curry powder, paprika, and cayenne are good dietary sources of vitamin K.
Getting high doses of vitamin K either from food or dietary supplements is considered pretty safe. Only people who take certain drugs, such as blood thinners, should be very cautious with consumed vitamin K doses.
Always consult your physician before changing your diet or taking dietary supplements.
Foods rich in vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is found mainly in animal-based or fermented foods.
However, the richest food in vitamin K2 is called natto. Natto is traditional Japanese food. It’s actually fermented soybeans. It contains almost 110 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g!
Another plant-based food rich in vitamin K2 is Sauerkraut. It provides 5.5 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g.
Chicken is the richest common food in vitamin K2, though. It contains about 10 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g. Other meat products contain much lower doses of vitamin K.
Fish contains negligible amounts of vitamin K2 as well. Only eel is particularly high in vitamin K2. It contains 63 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g.
Egg yolk and whole-fat dairy products are also poor in vitamin K2.
Only certain types of fermented cheese are particularly rich in vitamin K2. For instance, Pecorino, Münster, Camembert, Emmental, Stilton, Norvegia, and Gamalost contain 40-94 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g!
What foods should I eat to boost the daily vitamin K intake?
Cheese and other dairy products are high in saturated fatty acids, which can be dangerous for the heart. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 13 g of saturated fats a day. Higher doses significantly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
So, you better consume a wide variety of vegetables in order to get high doses of vitamin K1. Furthermore, gut bacteria will convert excess vitamin K1 into vitamin K2.
In addition, you could take a multivitamin supplement containing vitamin K2. There are dietary supplements containing both vitamin D and K2. This vitamins support cardiovascular and bone health. You’ll find a wide variety on iHerb.
It’s also tricky to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from diet. Vegans, vegetarians, and people who follow a plant-based diet may benefit the most from taking a vitamin D supplement.