As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, and it becomes increasingly important to prioritize our health. One area that requires special attention is our bone health and cardiovascular system. As we enter our 60s, we can experience bone loss and increased artery stiffness, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases. However, with a proper diet rich in Vitamin K2 foods, we can combat these issues and maintain optimal health. In this article which is in accordance to healthline, we will explore the benefits of Vitamin K2, the foods that are rich in it, and its role in preventing bone loss and reducing artery stiffness.
Understanding Vitamin K2:
Vitamin K2, also known as menaquinone, is a vital nutrient that plays a significant role in bone health and cardiovascular function. It is part of the Vitamin K family, which includes Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and Vitamin K3 (menadione). While Vitamin K1 is primarily involved in blood clotting, Vitamin K2 has unique properties that benefit our bones and arteries.
Vitamin K2 and Bone Health:
Bone loss, osteoporosis, and fractures are common concerns as we age. Vitamin K2 is known for its ability to stimulate the production of osteocalcin, a protein responsible for bone formation. Osteocalcin helps bind calcium to the bone matrix, thus improving bone mineralization. By consuming Vitamin K2-rich foods, we can enhance the health and strength of our bones, reducing the risk of fractures.
Reducing Artery Stiffness with Vitamin K2:
Arterial stiffness is a condition characterized by decreased elasticity in blood vessels, significantly impacting cardiovascular health. Vitamin K2 has been shown to play a vital role in reducing arterial stiffness and improving heart health. It activates a protein called matrix Gla protein (MGP), which acts as a natural inhibitor of calcification. By preventing the buildup of calcium in arterial walls, Vitamin K2 reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.
Vitamin K2 Food Sources:
Now that we understand the importance of Vitamin K2, let’s explore some food sources that can help us meet our daily requirements and maintain optimal health in our 60s.
Natto, a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans, is one of the richest sources of Vitamin K2. It contains a specific type of Vitamin K2 called menaquinone-7 (MK-7). Just one serving of natto can provide you with up to 1000 micrograms of Vitamin K2, surpassing the recommended daily intake.
Various types of cheese, such as Gouda and Brie, are excellent sources of Vitamin K2. The fermentation process involved in cheese production enhances the Vitamin K2 content. Including cheese in your diet can help improve bone density and reduce artery stiffness.
3. Egg yolks:
While egg yolks are often associated with high cholesterol, they are also a good source of Vitamin K2. Including eggs from free-range chickens in your diet can provide you with the necessary nutrients for bone and cardiovascular health.
4. Butter and Ghee:
Butter, especially grass-fed butter, and ghee are rich sources of Vitamin K2. Opt for organic, grass-fed varieties to maximize the nutritional benefits. These healthy fats can improve the absorption of Vitamin K2 and support bone and heart health.
5. Fermented Foods:
Additionally, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir are sources of Vitamin K2. Fermentation enhances the Vitamin K2 content in these foods, providing added benefits to bone and cardiovascular health.