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Fit for Life: Fat-Blasting Low Calorie Foods High in Vitamin K

By Rob Poulos...

We all know about the importance of vitamin A, C, and B in our diets–but how much do you know about vitamin K?  Don’t leave this vitamin ignored; it too plays a critical role in your health.

What is Vitamin K?

Discovered in the 1920s, vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin best known for its ability to help your blood clot–without it, you could bleed to death from something as miniscule as a paper cut or a bloody nose.  Your body also uses vitamin K to build stronger bones, and may even protect against bone fractures, though current evidence isn’t conclusive.

For most people, vitamin K deficiency is rare because the bacteria in your intestines help produce it.  You’ll also get plenty of it from dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and spinach.  If you develop a health problem that prevents your body from absorbing it, however, such as celiac disease, gallblader disease, or cystic fibrosis, you’ll soon start experiencing symptoms of a vitamin K deficiency, such as excess bruising and bleeding.

Foods High in Vitamin K

For most people, eating a healthful diet is the best way to get their fill of vitamin K.  If you have a health problem that limits your body’s ability to get enough vitamin K, however, you may need to eat more foods high in vitamin K.  If you have a deficiency, here are the best foods for staying healthy (and fit):

1. Kale.  Containing over 1300 percent of the daily recommended value for vitamin K, Kale is swimming with micronutrients that may even reduce your cancer risk.  At 28 calories per 3.5 ounce serving, it’s also one of the best low-calorie choices to make–and virtually none of these calories come from fat!  For a good way to fill up, try baking them in the oven for quick kale chips or toss it in salad for a healthier way to fill up.

2. Spinach.  Clocking in at only 23 calories per serving, spinach is both low-calorie and highly nutritious–just one 3.5 ounce serving contains nearly half of your daily requirement of vitamin A, vitamin B9, and beta-carotene.  It also contains a lot of vitamin K–over 400 of your daily requirement, according to the USDA.  Though you’ll reap the best benefits by eating it raw, spinach also works well in stir fries, lasagna, or as a healthy addition to dip.

3. Broccoli.  Containing 97 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin K, this isn’t the only nutrient broccoli contains–for just one 34 calorie serving, you’ll also get plenty of vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and 2.6 grams of dietary fiber.  Studies also back broccoli as a health aid: People who eat it regularly are less likely to develop prostate cancer and heart disease, according to recent research.  Serving options: Aside from eating it raw with dip, broccoli also works well in stir fries, pastas, and Asian-inspired salads.

Still not stuffed?  Don’t forget about other healthy vitamin K foods–leafy, green vegetables are usually abundant in this key vitamin.

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