Dried beans and peas are healthy foods that supply key nutrients such as fiber, protein, iron and B vitamins. Beans and peas are also low in fat, not to mention low-cost. These two foods are also good sources of vitamin K, a nutrient that isn't as well-known as calcium and vitamin C but is equally essential as part of your healthy eating plan.
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Vitamin K 101
Vitamin K plays a key role in clotting your blood. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, this fat-soluble vitamin also works to keep your bones healthy. In addition to getting vitamin K from the diet, you also recycle vitamin K, the Linus Pauling Institute reports. In other words, the body uses the same vitamin K several times before it's no longer useful in blood clotting and bone health. Adult women should aim to include 90 micrograms of vitamin K in their daily diets, while men need to consume 120 micrograms each day.
Beans and Vitamin K
While you likely won't eat dried beans, many varieties are a good source of vitamin K, and the nutrient is largely retained after the beans are cooked. The U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn't include nutrition information for dried beans because they aren't eaten that way. Knowing the vitamin K values of cooked beans, therefore, is more valuable information. A cup of green beans, for example, contains 52.5 micrograms of vitamin K. That's 58 percent of the recommended daily value for women and 44 percent of the recommended daily value for men. Mung means contain 34.3 micrograms per cup; soybeans, 33 micrograms per cup; and kidney beans, 14.9 micrograms per cup. Lima beans and pinto beans also supply small amounts of vitamin K.
Peas and Vitamin K
Peas are an even better source of vitamin K than beans. One cup of canned green peas supplies 62.6 micrograms of vitamin K. That's 70 percent of the recommended daily value for women and 52 percent of the recommended daily value for men. One cup of frozen green peas supplies 48.3 micrograms of vitamin K, and a cup of cooked fresh green peas supplies 40 micrograms. A cup of cooked split peas provides 9.8 micrograms of vitamin K.
Tips for Adding Peas and Beans to Your Diet
Dried beans are often less expensive than canned versions, making them a frugal way to add the nutritious food to your diet. Soak the beans overnight and then simmer them until they're soft, seasoning them however you wish. Eat the beans as a side dish or fill a whole-wheat pita pocket with the seasoned beans and top with low-fat cheese, tomatoes and black olives. Peas add taste, texture and nutrition to a chef or Caesar salad or can be steamed and eaten as a side dish to accompany grilled meat.