With diabetes rates soaring in developed countries, it’s important to be aware of every lifestyle change you can make to reduce your risk.
While a healthy diet and exercise remain at the top of the list for diabetes prevention, simply making a point to include plenty of vitamin-K-rich foods in your diet could lower your diabetes risk by 20 percent.
Why It’s Important to Get Plenty of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is most well known for the important role it plays in blood clotting, but it does so much more than that …
- Fight Cancer …
Studies have linked vitamin K2 with a nearly 30 percent reduction in your risk of cancer mortality and a 14 percent lowered risk of cancer altogether.
- Improve Bone Density …
Vitamin K is one of the most important nutritional interventions for improving bone density. It serves as the biological “glue” that helps plug the calcium into your bone matrix.
Other studies have shown vitamin K to be equivalent to Fosamax-type osteoporosis drugs, with far fewer side effects.
- Prevent Heart Disease …
Vitamin K helps to prevent hardening of your arteries, which is a common factor in coronary artery disease and heart failure. Research suggests that vitamin K may help to keep calcium out of artery linings and other body tissues, where it can be damaging.
- Stave off Varicose Veins …
Inadequate levels of vitamin K may reduce the activity of the matrix GLA protein (MGP), which in turn has been identified as a key player in the development of varicosis, or varicose veins.
- Lower Your Risk of Diabetes …
People with the highest intakes of vitamin K from their diet had a 20 percent lower risk of diabetes compared with those with the lowest intakes, according to the latest research from University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands..
How Much Vitamin K do You Need?
Many people are not getting the currently recommended intakes of vitamin K, which are likely already too low to begin with. In fact, according to What We Eat In America, only one in four Americans are meeting the recommended levels of dietary vitamin K.
Further, the Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily intake of 120 micrograms for men and 90 for women are based on levels that will ensure adequate blood coagulation. But vitamin K is important for more than just blood clotting; it impacts the health of your bones, arteries and immune system as well.
Vitamin K1, K2 and K3 … What’s the Difference?
There are three types of vitamin K:
- Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, is found naturally in plants
- Vitamin K2, also called menaquinone, is made by the bacteria that line your gastrointestinal tract
- Vitamin K3, or menadione, is a synthetic form that is manmade, and which I do not recommend.
You should strive to include both vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 in your diet, as both are beneficial.
K1 is found in dark green leafy vegetables, and makes up about 90 percent of the vitamin K in a typical Western diet. Collard greens, spinach, salad greens, kale, bok choy, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are particularly good sources.
The best natural source of vitamin K2 is derived from an ancient Japanese food called Natto. Natto is made from fermented soybeans and significant amounts of vitamin K2 are produced during the fermentation process. You can find natto at some health food stores and Asian grocery stores.
It’s important to note that vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means that in order for your body to absorb it effectively, you need to eat some fat along with it.
by Dr. Mercoal
Here is a very simple and delicious greens recipe to add to your repertoire…
Kale with Apples & Mustard
Tart apples, grainy mustard, cider vinegar, and a touch of brown
sugar add sweet-and-sour flavor to kale.
* 1 tablespoon oil, olive, extra virgin
* 1 1/2 pounds kale
* 2/3 cup(s) water
* 2 medium apple(s), Granny Smith
* 2 tablespoon vinegar, cider
* 4 teaspoon mustard, whole-grain
* 2 teaspoon sugar, brown
* 1 pinch salt
1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add kale and cook, tossing
with two large spoons, until bright green, about 1 minute.
2. Add water, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
3. Stir in apples; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is
tender, 8 to 10 minutes more.