Foods rich in vitamin K

Green smoothie with vitamin K rich foods.
Leafy greens on smoothie to boost your RDI of vitamin K.

The richest foods in vitamin K are dark leafy greens, fermented foods, chicken, and cheese. Many people may benefit from taking a supplement containing vitamin K2 as well.

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.

If you’re following a healthy, well-balanced diet, you shouldn’t worry about your daily vitamin K intake. Dark leafy greens are the best dietary sources of vitamin K1.

Actually, there are two types of vitamin K: vitamin K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is mainly found in plant-based foods, while vitamin K2 is found in animal-based foods.

Furthermore, the human body can synthesize a modest amount of vitamin K2. “Good” bacteria in the gut can convert the abundant vitamin K1 into vitamin K2.

Foods rich in vitamin K1

As we previously mentioned, the best dietary sources of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables.

Foods which are particularly rich in vitamin K are collards greens, spinach, parsley, coriander leaf, lambsquarters (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.

DescriptionVitamin K1
(mcg)
Basil, dried1,714
Sage, dried1,714
Thyme, dried1,714
Parsley, dried 1,640
Coriander leaf, dried1,359
Parsley, dried1,359
Amaranth leaves, dried1,140
Swiss chard830
Dandelion greens778
Collard greens623
Marjoram, dried622
Oregano, dried622
Mustard greens593
Dandelion greens551
Cress542
Spinach541
Turnip greens519
Stinging Nettles499
Lambsquarters494
The richest foods in vitamin K1.

Other common plant-based foods with modest 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 extra careful about the vitamin K intake.

Foods rich in vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is found mainly in animal-based or fermented foods.

In fact, the richest food in vitamin K2 is vegan. Natto is traditional Japanese food. It’s actually fermented soybeans. 100g of natto contain almost 110 mcg of vitamin K2! [1]

Another plant-based foods rich in vitamin K2 is Sauerkraut, containing 5.5 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g.

Furthermore, chicken is the richest common food in vitamin K2. It contains about 10 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g. Other meat products contain much lower doses.

Even fish contain tiny amounts of vitamin K2. Only eel is particularly high in vitamin K2. It has 63 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g.

Egg yolk and whole-fat dairy products contain only small amounts of vitamin K2 as well.[2]

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 whole-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 13g of saturated fats a day. Higher doses significantly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.[3]

So, you better consume a wide variety of vegetables in order to get high doses of vitamin K1. Gut bacteria will convert a part of it into vitamin K2.

Furthermore, you could take a multivitamin supplement containing vitamin K2. There are dietary supplements containing both vitamin D and K2, which support cardiovascular and bone health. You’ll find a wide variety on Amazon.

It’s also tricky to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from diet. Particularly, vegans and people who follow a plant-based diet may benefit the most from taking a vitamin D supplement.