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Which Cooking Oils Are Low in Vitamin K?

By Lynne Haley Rose

If you are taking a blood-thinning medication such as Coumadin--also called warfarin--you must keep your intake of vitamin K at a consistent level, avoiding foods that are high in that nutrient. Coumadin works to counteract Vitamin K's blood-clotting properties in order to prevent compromised blood flow. While some vitamin K-rich foods are easy to spot, such as dark, leafy vegetables, others require research. For example, cooking oils and dressings can contain more vitamin K than those green leafy vegetables. So before you break out that frying pan, become aware of where cooking oils rank in regard to their vitamin K content.

Types

Many of the cooking oils derived from corn and nuts have very low vitamin K content. Peanut oil contains the least amount of vitamin K. Even though corn and almond oil have ten times the amount of Vitamin K contained in peanut oil, they are the next lowest on the scale. Walnut oil weighs in after that, with twice the vitamin K of corn and peanut oils. Sunflower oil is slightly higher than walnut oil, and sesame and safflower complete the list of oils that are relatively low in Vitamin K. Canola and soybean oils are highest in this nutritional element, containing at least 39 times (canola) and as much as 54 times (soybean) the amount of Vitamin K found in almond oil.

Function

Peanut, corn, sunflower and safflower oils are not only low in vitamin K, but they are also low in unhealthy transfats and saturated fats. For frying foods, choose oils such as sunflower, safflower or canola, which have higher "smoke points"; that is, they can withstand higher cooking temperatures without burning.

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Considerations

Cooks normally use nut oils, such as almond and walnut, that are low in vitamin K, to impart the flavor of the roasted nut to baked goods, salad dressings, and steamed vegetables. Sesame oil, low in K, is a flavorful choice for fresh vegetable stir-fry dishes. As specialty products, these nut oils are more expensive than mainstream cooking oils, such as corn or safflower.

Misconceptions

While you may think that butter is strictly off the healthy cooking list, it is low in vitamin K, making it a candidate for your cooking needs. However, you should use it in moderation, especially if you have heart disease or if you are trying to lower your cholesterol level, as butter is high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Warning

Be sure to discuss any changes to your diet with your physician. While ingesting more vitamin K can decrease the effectiveness of Coumadin and eating less vitamin K can increase Coumadin's benefits, only a medically trained expert can help you determine the right diet while taking this type of medication.

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