Most people know that Vitamin K is something to do with blood clotting. It is often given to newborn babies to prevent any bleeding problems and is frequently used after surgical procedures for the same reason.
However what is not so commonly known is that Vitamin K is vital for bone health. A deficiency of vitamin K is a risk factor for the development of osteoporosis. Calcium is needed to build strong bones but without Vitamin K our bodies cannot use it
Vitamin K also plays a major role in preventing cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis is characterised by calcification of the arteries due to abnormal calcium metabolism; a progressive condition which may lead to angina and stroke. Vitamin K may reduce the calcium level in the artery walls.
Vitamin K is actually a group of structurally similar, fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin K1 is obtained from food whilst the others are largely synthesised by intestinal bacteria.
The signs of a deficiency include a tendency to bruise easily and abnormal or excessive bleeding, such as frequent nosebleeds, abnormally bleeding gums, heavy menstruation.
If you have had a lot of antibiotics then you may be at risk of deficiency because the gut bacteria may well have been destroyed. Any damage to your gut through conditions such as coeliac disease, surgery, cystic fibrosis etc. may also predispose you towards deficiency.
The ability to absorb bacterially produced Vitamin K varies. Absorption is enhanced by the presence of pancreatic juice and bile salts from the liver. Liver damage can therefore create a deficiency, as can alcoholism.
Green leafy vegetables are good food sources of Vitamin K and KALE is an especially rich source.
KALE is a green leafy vegetable from the Brassica (cabbage) family. It is native to Britain and the eastern Mediterranean region where it has been cultivated for over 2000 years. Kale has remained very much the same over that time. It comes in various forms with both curly and smooth leaved types and ranges in colour from deep green to blue and black.
Kale is a nutrient dense food and it particularly rich in the following:
- Beta-carotene (pre-cursor of Vitamin A): – good for night vision, healthy skin and resistance to infection
- Vitamin C: for healthy immune system, strong connective tissue
- Folate: for growth, development and repair. Especially important during pregnancy
- Vitamin K (see above)
- Calcium: for bones and teeth, good muscle function, and nerve transmission
- Magnesium: for bones and teeth, muscles, nerve transmission and is a vital part of many bodily processes
- Iron: required for good red blood cells, energy, proper liver function and more
- Indoles – compounds which stimulate liver metabolism and help promote detoxification
- Fibre: for good gut and colon health
The best way to eat kale is raw as in a salad.
green curly kale – as much as you want to eat
Sprinkle of sea salt
1 ripe avocado
2 large tomatoes OR a handful of baby plum tomatoes
spring onions – optional
Sweetcorn – optional
Beansprouts – optional
(any other salad items as desired)
- Chop the kale up into bite sized pieces and put into a bowl.
- Add a few drops of olive oil plus a small sprinkling of sea salt to the kale and massage well into the leaves until they are glistening and look succulent. If they need more oil, add accordingly. Leave for a while to soften up.
- Chop up the avocado into small pieces, add to the kale and mix in well
- Chop tomatoes and add to bowl.
- Similarly finely slice the spring onions
- Mix in any other ingredients
- Make sure that all ingredients are spread evenly through out the bowl
- Sprinkle with some fresh lemon juice and serve