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K2, probiotics and bone health


By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach

Something we have never written about on The Food Coach is vitamin K and I was interested to read more about this nutrient which many of us will know is associated in the role of blood clotting. Scientists these days talk about 3 types of vitamin K (1 and 2 are most interesting).

K1 is required by the liver and is essential in the important task of blood clotting, while vitamin K2 plays a vital role in shunting calcium around the body. K2 is sent directly to blood vessel walls and bones removing calcium (plaque) from the arteries and depositing it in the bones and teeth. Its role will help protect against heart disease, osteoporosis, and, researchers believe, may also have the potential to improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson's disease.

Vitamin K1 is found in plentiful amounts in green leafy vegetables while vitamin K2 is obtained through bacteria in selected fermented products ( Please note - it's not found in all fermented products). The most abundant food source of Vitamin B2 is found in fermented soy products, in particular natto and tempeh, although it is also found in lesser amounts in egg yolk, butter, Edam, Brie cheese. Using the right bacteria, Bacillus Natto, you can ferment vegetables and produce your own inexpensive source of vitamin K2.

I haven't made these vegetables myself but you can purchase the bacteria on-line and there are plenty of YouTube articles to show you how to ferment.

It strengthens the argument about the importance of fermented products, although there is a danger of being sucked into buying every fermented product on the market.

I think the Japanese do it right: little and often. We westerners fall into the trap when we discover something is good for us, it becomes a daily staple and then we supplement just to be sure.

Let's not do that.

Gut bacteria is important, we know that. Feed the gut with some good bacteria and then feed your gut with the fuel required to keep it alive. Natto, tempeh, miso, and fermented vegetables are important probiotics (bacteria) to put into your gut. To keep these bacteria alive you need to feed them with indigestible carbohydrates from vegetables and beans. Onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, legumes, bananas, asparagus are all examples of good plants prebiotics.

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