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Nuts & Vitamin K

By Stephanie Chandler

Vitamin K gets its designation from the German word "koagulation,” which refers to the process of blood clot formation. The body needs vitamin K to activate seven different proteins that function as clotting factors. Vitamin K also activates proteins necessary for the formation of strong bones. Failing to consume the 90 micrograms per day for women and 120 micrograms per day for men, as recommended by the National Institutes of Medicine, leads to a deficiency characterized by an increase risk for bleeding. Some tree nuts contain vitamin K, making them a good snack choice, especially for those at risk of a vitamin K deficiency.

Cashews

Cashews grow on trees primarily found in India, Vietnam, Mozambique and Brazil. These trees produce an apple-shaped fruit with a skin that ranges from bright yellow to red. At the bottom of this fruit, referred to as a stalk, hangs the gray-brown cashew nut. Many people eat cashews as a snack or in delicacies such as chocolate. A 1 oz. serving of cashews contains 160 calories with 4 g of protein and 13 g of total fat. This same serving size contributes 9.6 micrograms of vitamin K to your daily intake.

Hazelnuts

Hazelnut clusters grow on trees around the world with the majority of the nuts grown in the United States, Turkey, Italy and Spain. Hazelnuts contain a hard shell with the kernel used as a snack item, made into butter and included in baked goods. Hazelnuts contain 180 calories per ounce with 4 g of protein and 17 g of total fat. Hazelnuts contain less vitamin K than cashews, with only 4 micrograms per 1 oz. serving.

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Pine Nuts

Pine nuts, the familiar nut often called by names including pinon, pinoli and pignolia, are the kernel found inside of pine cones. The countries that produce the majority of the pine nuts include China, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Mongolia. Two varieties exist: the Italian pine nut with a light delicate flavor and the Chinese pine nut with a pungent flavor. Pine nuts are small, with about 167 kernels in every ounce. One ounce of pine nuts contains 190 calories with 4 g of protein and 20 g of total fat. Pine nuts contain the highest level of vitamin K at 15.3 micrograms per serving.

Pistachios

Pistachios, one of the oldest-known edible nuts, differ from other nuts because their shell remains partially open. This allows for roasting and salting while the nut remains in the shell. Pistachios make a nutritious and delicious snack that contains 160 calories per 1 oz. serving. A serving of pistachios provides 6 g of protein in only 13 g of total fat. Pistachios serve as a good source of vitamin B-6 and other B vitamins, along with the 3.7 micrograms of vitamin K in every serving.

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