Vitamin K

chard+kaleIn our next installment of Vitamins and Minerals from A to Zinc, we hit on vitamin K. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be found in the diet and is also made by bacteria. The naturally occurring forms of vitamin K are phylloquinone (K1), found in plants, and menaquinones (K2 or MK), which are mostly made by bacteria living in the intestine.

Vitamin K is very sensitive to heat and light and is easily destroyed by these conditions. Unfortunately, this could mean many people miss out on this vitamin simply because they overcook their food.

There is a risk of vitamin K deficiency with any condition that impairs fat absorption, Continue reading “Vitamin K”

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Dinner Tonight: Pumpkin Pancakes

pumpkin‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin flavored, from candy to your morning coffee… and even beer. In fact, in the last 5 years, pumpkin sales have increased a whopping 34% (USDA). Pumpkin is loaded with antioxidants that contribute to good vision, healthy skin, a strong immune system, and bone and teeth development. It’s also a good source of vitamins A, C, K, and E, as well as the minerals magnesium, potassium, and iron.

However, if you really want to reap the benefits of this winter squash, skip the candy, beer and coffee and enjoy it pureed in this delicious pumpkin pancake recipe. I cheat a little with this recipe and use a pre-made pancake mix (I like Bob’s Red Mills).

1 cup organic soy or almond milk, unsweetened
1 egg
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup organic pure pumpkin purée, unseasoned
3/4 cup whole grain pancake mix
2 Tbsp wheat germ
1 tsp cinnamon
butter (for frying pancakes)

In medium bowl whisk together milk, egg, oil, and pumpkin. Add pancake mix, wheat germ and cinnamon. Stir well.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of butter to lightly coat the pan. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake and cook until deep golden brown. Flip and cook the other side until done. Serve with a little maple syrup and some chopped nuts!

I actually make smaller versions of these and stack them up in a short, squat thermos, and they stay hot for my son’s school lunch.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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Dinner Tonight: Rapini and Pasta

Rapini or broccoli rabe is a dark leafy green vegetable that looks like it has tiny broccoli florets on it. It is part of the mustard family and has a very bitter taste. As a kid, rapini was a staple in our house, especially when the weather got cooler. Instead of salads, my mother would cook up some rapini with olive oil to accompany whatever main dish she made that night.

Now it is a staple in my house, as well. I combine it with pasta and white kidney beans and loads of garlic and olive oil for a simple and tasty meal.

Rapini is very high in vitamin K, calcium, and potassium. It is also a good source of iron and folate.  Continue reading “Dinner Tonight: Rapini and Pasta”

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Non-Dairy Foods for Healthy Bones

Many people fear that if they are unable to eat dairy products, they will not be able to get enough calcium in their diet. Rest assured that you can get plenty of bone-building nutrients from a wide variety of non-dairy foods. Bones need a myriad of nutrients beyond calcium, such as vitamin D, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, protein, magnesium, healthy fats, zinc, manganese, and boron. Here are some examples of bone-nourishing foods:

1) Vegetables (provide calcium, vitamin K, vitamin C)

  • Leafy green vegetables: kale, collards, mustard greens, arugula, bok choy, parsley, watercress, mesclun, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, dandelion greens, beet greens
  • Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, zucchini, acorn or butternut squash, celery, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts

2) Protein (supports collagen)

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