Vitamin K in broccoli can help you stay healthy. What are the health benefits? What’s the best way to cook broccoli? Other foods rich in vitamin K.
Daily vitamin K needs
How much vitamin K do most people need per day?
According to the American National Institutes of Health:
- men need about 120 mcg of vitamin K per day,
- women need only 90 mcg of vitamin K per day,
- children and teenagers need even less.
If you eat a balanced whole food plant-based diet, you would easily meet the daily recommended vitamin K intake.
Vitamin K in Broccoli
According to the USDA, broccoli is rich in vitamin K.
The amount of vitamin K in broccoli is enough to meet our daily needs.
Just 100 gr of broccoli has 101 mcg of vitamin K. That’s 112% DV (Daily Value).
So, eating a cup of chopped broccoli provides all the vitamin K you need.
Why Broccoli is good for you?
Moreover, the vitamin K in broccoli isn’t the only benefit. Broccoli is a super healthy food, as it’s nutrient-dense…
Many nutrients, low in calories. 100 gr of broccoli has only 34 calories.
Additionally, broccoli contains traces of many health-promoting minerals, such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
Also, it’s rich in many other powerful phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
For instance, broccoli is a good source of beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. All important for healthy eyes.
Health benefits of vitamin K
According to the American National Institutes of Health, vitamin K is very important against:
- osteoporosis and
- coronary heart disease.
Vitamin K in Broccoli fights osteoporosis
Moreover, Japan and other countries of Asia, use a pharmacological dose of vitamin K for the treatment of osteoporosis. Studies have shown a link between vitamin K and improved bone mineral density.
Also, according to the European Food Safety Authority, the dietary intake of vitamin K can maintain healthy bones.
Vitamin K in Broccoli protects the heart
Many studies have been conducted, trying to find the benefits of vitamin K on coronary calcification.
Coronary artery calcification is the buildup of calcium in the arteries. That’s bad, as it can narrow blood vessels, leading to the development of heart disease.
Although the scientific data varies, there are many cases that vitamin K gave positive results.
Researchers mainly give patients vitamin K supplements though. What if we replaced the standard Western diet, with a whole food plant-based diet?
We would consume all the vitamin K we needed.
As a bonus, we would avoid excess saturated fat, salt, and cholesterol. All bad for the heart…
Other health benefits of eating Broccoli
So, is vitamin K supplementation that makes all the difference?
Or is a plant-based diet a better option? Plants will provide all the vitamin K we need, plus many other powerful phytochemicals.
There is no surprise that scientists tried to find out the potential health benefits of a plant-based diet. Especially in heart diseases.
In a 2015 study, they tried to find out if a plant-based diet could prevent coronary artery disease. They found that a plant-based diet can indeed prevent coronary artery disease from atherosclerosis.
Maybe the most famous plant-based diet is the Mediterranean Diet.
Health benefits of polyphenols in Broccoli
Moreover, polyphenols may promote a healthy heart. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidant compounds, present only in plants.
A high dietary intake of polyphenols has linked to (1):
- decreased risk of overall mortality,
- decreased risk of coronary artery disease-related mortality,
- certain cancers,
- cardiovascular diseases, and
- mood disorders.
According to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, broccoli is rich in polyphenols.
It has about 45 mg of polyphenols per 100 gr. It’s one of the richest foods in polyphenols.
How much vitamin K in other food?
Many foods contain adequate amounts of vitamin K.
See an extensive list of foods rich in vitamin K here.
How to cook Broccoli?
Raw broccoli has about 101 mg of vitamin K per 100 gr.
Vitamin K heat sensitivity
Vitamin K has a unique property. The vitamin K content of food may increase with heat.
That’s because vitamin K is located in the chloroplast in plants. The cooking process may breakdown the plant cell wall, releasing vitamin K.
Furthermore, vitamin K is relatively heat stable. So, the heat of cooking doesn’t affect it (2).
Vitamin K in steamed Broccoli
So, what’s the best way to cook broccoli, in order to preserve vitamin K and other nutrients?
Better, steam your broccoli. This way, nutrients won’t leach into the water.
Also, better cut broccoli florets into pieces to cut down cooking time.
Additionally, you can sprinkle lemon juice and olive oil, on the broccoli. This simple dressing will boost the nutrient content of the meal. Especially the vitamin C and polyphenol content.
So, is vitamin K in Broccoli enough?
Yes, vitamin K in broccoli is enough. A cup of broccoli may have more than you need.
Moreover, prefer a whole food plant-based diet, for the best health benefits.
- A 2018 study of St John’s Innovation Centre, Cambridge: Effects of Polyphenol-Rich Foods on Human Health
- A 2018 study of Chungbuk National University: Effect of different cooking methods on the content of vitamins and true retention in selected vegetables