If you don't eat it already, you should think about including cabbage in your diet. In addition to supplying fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C, the vegetable is also a good source of vitamin K. Healthy adults need a steady intake of vitamin K, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and adding cabbage to your healthy eating plan is one way to reach that goal.
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Cabbage and K
One cup of shredded raw green cabbage contains 53.2 micrograms of vitamin K. That's 59 percent of the 90 micrograms you need each day. The same amount of red cabbage has less vitamin K, with 26.7 micrograms per cup, which is 30 percent of what you need on a daily basis.
Vitamin K 101
Vitamin K is often called the clotting vitamin, and helping to clot your blood is one of the nutrient's primary responsibilities. The vitamin might also play a role in keeping your bones strong, especially in elderly individuals, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes. It's rare for healthy adults to have a vitamin K deficiency, however, because the bacteria in the digestive tract also produces small amounts of the nutrient. A vitamin K deficiency can occur after a long period of time taking antibiotics or because of certain health problems, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Vitamin K Does This, Too
Though more research is necessary, preliminary studies suggest that a low vitamin K intake can cause calcification in the arteries, according to John W. Suttie, author of "Vitamin K in Health and Disease." A 2012 article published in "Advances in Nutrition" notes that a certain kind of vitamin K, called menaquinone, might help reduce the risk of calcification. A low intake of the nutrient might also raise the risk of myocardial infarction and sudden heart death, Suttie notes, though more research is necessary to determine if an increased intake can help prevent these health problems or if has no effect.
Including Cabbage in Your Diet
Make a main dish salad by combining shredded green or red cabbage with sliced grilled chicken, peanuts and sliced scallions. Top the salad with a low-fat Asian salad dressing. Swap the usual lettuce leaf on your favorite sandwich for a cabbage leaf instead. It will create a slightly different flavor but will also add some crunch to the sandwich. Add shredded cabbage to beef or fish tacos, or try your hand at making a batch of homemade sauerkraut as additional ways to add the food to your diet.