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Cilantro and Vitamin K

By Michelle Kerns

If you're like most Americans, you are not consuming enough vitamin K. A 2005 study published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that only about 25 percent of adults in the United States meet the Adequate Intake level of vitamin K for their age and gender. Speak to your doctor or a nutritionist about developing a diet plan if you need help ensuring that you include enough vitamin K-rich foods -- including cilantro -- in your daily meals.

Vitamin K Content

Fresh cilantro contains 12.4 micrograms of vitamin K in every 1/4-cup serving. A man should have 120 micrograms of vitamin K each day, and this amount of cilantro would supply 10 percent of his requirement. For a woman, who needs 90 micrograms of vitamin daily, 1/4 cup of cilantro would fulfill nearly 14 percent of her recommendation. Dried cilantro -- also known as coriander -- is not a good vitamin K source, with only 8.2 micrograms of the nutrient in every teaspoon.

Comparison to Other Foods

A 1/4-cup serving of raw cilantro contains approximately as much vitamin K as 1 cup of fresh grapes, 1 cup of raw cauliflower, 1 cup of canned carrots or 1 cup of red or white currants. Cilantro is a superior source of the nutrient when compared to foods like summer squash, tomatoes, mangoes, pears, potatoes, canned light tuna and cooked beans like black beans. For the richest natural sources of vitamin K, turn to dark green, leafy vegetables. A 1-cup serving of raw kale contains over 400 micrograms of vitamin K, while cooked broccoli has about 162 micrograms per cup.

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Importance of Vitamin K

The vitamin K that you obtain from foods like cilantro plays an essential role in producing the proteins required for your blood to clot appropriately. Without adequate vitamin K, you have an increased risk of bleeding more when you're injured. In addition, a study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2000 found that people with diets high in vitamin K were less likely to suffer from hip fractures as they age. Getting enough of the vitamin may keep your bones strong and help prevent osteoporosis.

Health Considerations

The National Institutes of Health cautions that people taking the blood thinner warfarin, which is also known as Coumadin, need to be careful how many foods rich in vitamin K they eat daily. Suddenly increasing your intake of vitamin K may make the medication less effective, possibly leading to the development of blood clots. Eating cilantro in moderation is safe, says the NIH, but you should limit your consumption of foods that contain more than 60 percent of the Daily Value of vitamin K, which is 54 to 72 micrograms for females and males, respectively. Strive to keep your vitamin K intake consistent from day to day.

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