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Lentils & Vitamin K

By Andrea Cespedes

Vitamin K is a nutrient that is important to blood clotting, bone health and cell growth. Any deficiency in vitamin K is not common because the nutrient is readily found in so many different foods. Lentils, a leguminous plant, offer 3.4 mcg vitamin K per cooked cup.

About Lentils

The most commonly found types of lentils are the French, red and yellow varieties. Lentils are usually sold dried, but they can be rehydrated in cans. The legume is often used as a vegetarian source of protein in casseroles, soups and patties. A 1-cup serving of cooked lentils provides 16 g fiber, 18 g protein, 37 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for iron, 36 percent for phosphorus, 18 percent for magnesium and 49 percent for manganese, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. A cup of lentils also has 90 percent of the RDA for folate, which helps promote healthy red blood cell function and supports proper brain development in fetuses.

Vitamin K Content

Lentils provide 4 percent of the RDA for vitamin K and are not among one of the best sources of this nutrient. The Institute of Medicine recommends most adults consume 90 to 120 mcg of vitamin K daily. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it is stored in the liver and other fatty tissue. Your diet must include a minimal amount of fat, 20 percent is recommended by the IOM, to help you best absorb vitamin K.

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Boosting K Content

Prepare lentils with vitamin K-rich foods to boost your intake. Saute onions, garlic, celery and carrots in 1 tbsp. of canola oil before adding dry lentils and chicken broth to make a lentil soup. Add spinach or kale to the soup to further boost the vitamin K content. Make a cold lentil salad with a dressing of lemon juice and olive oil and serve over vitamin K-containing green lettuce and watercress. Season cooked lentils with 1/4 cup raw, chopped parsley to obtain an extra 246 mcg vitamin K.

Considerations

Older adults who are vulnerable to hip fracture and osteoporosis should make an extra effort to consume lentils -- or other meals -- with 1 cup of leafy greens to obtain adequate amounts of vitamin K to protect bone health. Even if you do not add vitamin K-containing foods to lentils, they still provide a wealth of nutrients making them a healthy addition to any diet. Vitamin K supplements are available over-the-counter, but check with your doctor before adding them to your regimen.

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