Lentils: How Much Vitamin K?

It depends™.  For 1 cup (~200 grams):

Verdict: Depends on your lifestyle.  If you already eat raw lentils, I wouldn’t change.  But if you are looking to incorporate lentils into your diet more (benefits to follow), anticipate the need for an increase in warfarin/coumadin dose.

Lentils are a rich in dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble).  Soluble helps with lowering cholesterol and blood sugar/glucose, while insoluble helps prevent digestive disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and diverticulosis.  Legumes in general are associated with a whopping 82% reduction in risk of coronary heart disease.  People eating 21 grams of fiber per day had 12% less coronary heart disease (CHD) and 11% less cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those eating the least (5 grams daily). Those eating the most water-soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.  The folate, iron, and magnesium content is also a big plus.

Here’s instructions for preparing lentils – very quick compared to navy or black beans.

Blood Thinners and Iron Deficiency

Being on blood thinners does not directly impact iron levels in the blood.  Unless you’re bleeding – then you have bigger problems.

If you believe that you are iron deficient:

Call your doctor and make an appointment immediately.  It could be an indication of [internal] blood loss, which is a possibility if your INR level is above 3.  But the level is not a strong indication – I’ve had no issue when in the 4s, yet I bled into my lungs while open water swimming when my INR was in the low 2s.  Doctors can perform a physical exam in addition to blood tests (and more blood tests depending on initial results).

Be aware that if bleeding is confirmed to be the source of the iron deficiency, the benefit to being on warfarin/coumadin is the medication can be flushed from your system.  It’s not available to those on other blood thinner medications, and in my experience it’s not something doctors will use unless they have to.  As in, they were fine with me sitting in hospital for days until my INR was under 1.4 (allowable level for surgery).

Dietary Sources for Iron Deficiency Prevention

Anyone can develop iron-deficiency anemia, but us “bleeders” are more likely than most to develop it because some of the best sources of iron also have a lot of vitamin K.  The goto sources are beef (stop making faces) and spinach.

Here’s the top 5 sources of iron for those of us on blood thinners:

  1. Lentils are the first on the list which do no contain vitamin K, and at 37% of your Daily Value (DV)… if you eat 1 cup of them.
  2. Sesame seeds: 29% DV of iron for 0.25 cup
  3. Garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas): 26% DV of iron for 1 cup
  4. Lima beans: 25% DV of iron for 1 cup
  5. Olives: 25% DV of iron for 1 cup
  6. Navy beans: 24% DV of iron for 1 cup

What?  There was a tie, and I’d eat navy beans before olives or lima beans. 😛

The alternative is iron supplements.

FYI: Vegans (or depending on your vegetarianism) should be aware that there’s also pernicious anemia, the result of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

The True Story of Traditional New Year’s Lucky Foods

Now I’m the one who’s gladly stinking up the house with kraut, pork, and peas; I like these foods and don’t just limit them to the turn of a new year. But I’ve always wondered about our family custom. My mother grew up in Ohio with lots of German and Polish neighbors, while my dad’s gaggle of military brat siblings lived on Air Force bases in Florida and Louisiana. Mom brought the pork and kraut to our table’s traditions; Dad, the black-eyes. But which cultures started these celebratory superstitions in the first place? And why those foods?

To dig a little deeper, I chose four popular regional American good luck foods of the new year—the pork and sauerkraut of the Midwest, the greens and black-eyed peas of the South, the pickled herring of Scandinavian immigrants, and the lentils of Italian-Americans—on a quest for the facts behind the fortune.

Source: The True Story of Traditional New Year’s Lucky Foods

10 Foods to Supercharge Your Sport?

In their quest for the ultimate performance nutrition, cyclists and sports scientists will turn their taste buds to anything from a cousin of cannabis to the afterburn effects of a curry.

Source: 10 foods to supercharge your cycling

The info about celery is new to me.  I understood celery to be a “diet” food – it was one of the few that took more energy to consume than you got from it.  Hemp seeds have been fashionable, but you could get similar benefits by using a combination of sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.  Similarly, there’s been a push for Maple syrup uptake…  But flat coke?  Given that soda pop has been shown to shorten telomeres

The Surprising Health Benefits of Beans

Beans are a super healthy, super versatile and super affordable food. Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and helps with weight management. Beans are hearty, helping you feel full so you will tend to eat less.

As we get older, we need fewer calories and beans are a great way to boost the nutrition power of your meal without boosting the calories. A half-cup of beans has only about 100 calories.

Source: After-40 Nutrition: The Surprising Health Benefits of Beans

They missed something you can do with beans – make vegan brownies (recipe).  I’m conflicted about eating them – it’s way too healthy for a brownie.  I also like to add salsa to my navy beans.