Since the discovery of vitamin K in 1929, scientists knew how it can improve bone and heart health. But not until 1970, they could differentiate the roles of vitamin K1 and K2. The Harvard researchers found out that Osteocalcin, a vitamin K2-dependent protein, is needed by our body to take the calcium out of our bloodstream and redirect it to our bones and teeth. It also removes arterial calcification and has beneficial effects on people suffering from cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, infertility, etc. It is vital for children’s growth as well.
Though vitamin D also transports calcium from the bloodstream, it cannot decide where to deposit the calcium. The osteocalcin present in vitamin K2 can locate calcium in specific areas of the body, like in soft tissues, bones, and teeth. So, our body needs vitamin K2 to perform this vital job. Despite the significant role vitamin K2 plays in our overall health, most people suffer from vitamin K2 deficiency.
You can get vitamin K2 mostly from animal sources, but it is also present in fermented vegetables. Here are the best foods with vitamin K2 that you can include in your diet.
Cow’s milk or goat’s milk contains vitamin K, but you have to make sure that the animals were pasture raised. Otherwise, they won’t get vitamin K1 that they can convert to vitamin K2, and so we won’t get it either. Even if the cows are fed on hay, you need to make sure that they are not fed on dead hay; else, the milk from the cattle won’t contain vitamin K2. It may not be possible to look into these factors while buying some milk from someone, but if it is, do it.
Eggs from pasture-raised hens provide vitamin K2, but it is not present in eggs from caged hens. You should note that egg yolk from The Netherlands have more vitamin K2 than those from the US, just because of the way the hens are raised. So, you should source eggs from pasture-raised hens and include it in your diet.
The fermented foods, like Natto, provide vitamin K2. But you need to make sure that it is cultured properly and then stored in the refrigerator. You must ensure that it is not pasteurized or contaminated. Even by eating natto once a few weeks, you will be able to fulfill the vitamin K2 requirements of your body. 100 grams of natto contains 1000 mcg of vitamin K2. It also contains other essential minerals such as magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese that make you healthy.
Various types of cheese such as cheddar, bleu cheese, swiss, gruyere, gouda, jarlsberg, etc. contain vitamin K2. Here are some benefits of including cheese in your diet.
- The Norwegian cheese Jarlsberg is one of the best sources of vitamin K2 and contains 73 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100 grams.
- Gouda cheese is an excellent source of vitamin K2 and this Dutch cheese also contains protein, calcium, vitamin B12, zinc, and phosphorus.
Whether you will get vitamin K2 from cheese sources or not depends on whether the cow is raised on pasture or not, the soil composition and bacteria content in the soil, the fat content, length of fermentation, and other factors.
Meat is a great source of vitamin K2. Chicken and darker meat provide fat and high amount of vitamin K2. Here are some things you should know about the meat sources of vitamin K2:
- Chicken wings, thighs, and drumsticks are rich in vitamin K2.
- The chicken skin contains dietary glycine that has several health benefits.
- In addition to the vitamin K2 content, this fatty cut of meat provides an abundance of protein and the mineral selenium.
- Goose leg contains vitamin K2 and is a great source of protein and selenium also.
Sausage, salami, pepperoni, etc. also contain a high content of vitamin K2. These have high-fat content and can fulfill your needs of vitamin K2. These contain proteins, B vitamins, zinc, and other nutrients as well.
Both goose and chicken liver are good sources of vitamin K2. The organ meats are nutrient-dense and are very good for your health. Research indicates that 100 grams of goose liver contain 369 mcg of vitamin K2. However, it may be difficult to find a goose liver in certain areas. So, you can eat chicken liver instead. Chicken livers are also rich in vitamins A, B2, B12, and folate.
This food is lesser known in the Western world and may look like a misspelled word for you. It is a type of fermented bean and curd stew that is native to South Korea and is similar to natto. It is rich in vitamin K2 and other nutrients. You can find this in a local Korean or Asian market. Including it in your diet can improve your dental health.
8. Sour Cream
Sour cream is delicious and it’s included in salad dressings and other delicious recipes to improve the taste of the dish. It is a good source of vitamin K2 and is rich in vitamin A and calcium as well. The creamy texture works well in soups, curries, and stews. You can also include it as topping to your meat-based dishes and desserts.
9. Cream Cheese
Though it has less vitamin K2 content than the hard cheese, still it is a good source of vitamin K2. Cream cheese tastes delicious and you can spread it on your bread for breakfast. It is now used as a rice substitute in making sushi rolls. Cream cheese is good for the bones and teeth as well.
Along with vitamin K2, butter also contains fat-soluble vitamins A and D. You should eat butter that is derived from grass-fed cows to get a high amount of vitamin K2. It helps to grow new dentine, slows down tooth degradation, and kills cavity-causing bacteria.
Food sources of vitamin K2 are rare and people don’t eat it just accidentally. So, you will need to plan to include vitamin K2 in your diet. The levels of vitamin K2 content in the food can vary depending on how the food has been treated or prepared. So, no matter what, you should include foods rich in vitamin K2 in your diet to keep your bones and teeth in good condition.