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Beetroot Fiber & Coumadin

by
author image Michelle Kerns
Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.
Beetroot Fiber & Coumadin
Close-up of red beets. Photo Credit jrwasserman/iStock/Getty Images

Beetroots, more commonly known as beets, are rich in fiber and vitamin K. Although diets containing a high intake of these nutrients are linked with a decreased risk of a variety of diseases, consuming large amounts of vitamin K can be dangerous for people taking the blood-thinning medication Coumadin. If you are on Coumadin, limit your intake of beetroot greens -- but not beetroot -- and focus your vegetable choices around produce that are high in fiber and low in vitamin K.

Fiber in Beets

Beetroots are made up of two edible parts -- the circular-shaped root which can be red, white or yellow; and the dark green, leafy beet greens. The root and the greens have a different nutritional makeup and contain different amounts of fiber. A 1/2 cup of cooked, boiled beetroot contains 1.7 grams of fiber, while one serving of cooked beet greens provides nearly 4.2 g of fiber. Similar to other dark green, leafy vegetables such as turnip greens, broccoli or Brussels sprouts, beet greens are considered a high-fiber food.

Vitamin K in Beets

Beets and their greens also differ substantially in their vitamin K content. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a single one-cup serving of cooked beet greens contains nearly 700 micrograms of vitamin K. In Ask the Dietitian's list of vitamin K-containing foods, beet greens rank along with kale, spinach, collards, turnip greens, mustard greens and asparagus as containing the highest concentration of vitamin K among vegetables. By contrast, the cooked root contains only 0.170 micrograms of vitamin K per serving and is not considered a significant source of vitamin K.

Vitamin K and Coumadin

The anticoagulant Coumadin -- also known by its generic name, warfarin -- prevents blood clots from developing by inhibiting the liver's ability to use vitamin K in the synthesis of blood clotting proteins. If an individual using Coumadin eats vitamin K-rich foods, the vitamin can interfere with Coumadin's action in the liver, resulting in an increased risk of blood clots. Doctors advise people on Coumadin to eat very small amounts of foods, including beet greens, that contain high amounts of vitamin K, but to regularly eat moderate amounts of foods with medium to very low vitamin K content, such as beetroot.

Recommendations

If you eat beet greens for the benefit of their fiber content and have recently been prescribed Coumadin, you will need to strictly control your consumption of these greens. The Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center advises eating no more than 1/2 cup of vitamin K-rich leafy greens daily. Fill your fiber needs by replacing the beet greens in your diet with high-fiber, low-vitamin K vegetables and fruits that include artichokes, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and dried beans and legumes, including split peas, garbanzos, pintos and kidney beans.

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