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Pulmonary Embolism – Foods to Avoid with Vitamin K

Since my wife recently had a Pulmonary Embolism we have to watch what foods she eats. Vitamin K is one thing she doesn’t want to get to much of as it will interact with her coumadin medication. We know to say away from green vegetables, but there are a lot of other foods high in vitamin K too.

We recently came across, a great website that lets you put in any food and it’ll tell you if it’s high, medium or low in vitamin K. Did you know that Cheetos are high? Starbursts are low. Chocolate Milk is high. Chicken Nuggets are low. They also have a great, 10 page, print out of most foods and their vitamin K value that you can take with you.

Pintar’s Vitamin K Registry is by far the best resource we’ve found for looking up foods with vitamin K.

26 Responses

  1. Helen MacMillan says:

    Thank you so much-I would not have found it by myself.

    • frances chester says:

      New at this. would like to see some sample meal plans. thanks for the information I found on your site.

  2. With my history of PE, I really appreciate the link to Pentar’s Vitamin K registry. There are many foods I’ve had which I had no idea caused elevation in Vit K levels.

    Since March is DVT (pulmonary embolism) Awareness month, I blogged about it yesterday. Grandpa and I are newbie bloggers and would sure appreciate you dropping by to read by DVT Awareness post on my blog yesterday and leaving a comment? You can find us at Grandparents Cyber Corner.

    Thanks again for the valuable Vitamin K registry link. I wish you all the best.


  3. Zoila says:

    Thanks, thanks, thanks. I was having a lot of problems to identify food high in vitamin K and my blood tests were going lower every week. Now I can Identify what to eat and still maintain my levels. People who have survived PE are very lucky to be alive. Thanks for helping me stay that way for my family.

  4. Ann says:

    Thank you so much for the information on the website. I’m new to all of this and it gives me more information and guidance than any other sites I’ve found.

  5. Kathy Sydow says:

    Just for information. Nice list. Would be good to include the amount per serving. This can vary from 1/4 c – 1 cup and the same with fluid oz. I have seen the amounts on other sites but not a total list like you have.

  6. Daryl Saari says:

    I found this info very useful, and will tell my grandmother about this useful information i have found for her. Thank you!

  7. Henry says:

    Very informative in ref to foods to avoid but no-one mentions drinks to avoid! How about, NA BEER, MILK, SODAS, REG TEA (NOT GREEN)??

  8. Thomas says:

    We never really thought about beverages. Good question though.

  9. Tim says:

    Hi there.

    I am recovering from pulmonary emboli.

    The best advice that I was given whilst in hospital was from the phlebotomist and that was:

    “make sure you control the warfarin (coumadin), don’t let the warfarin (coumadin) control you.”

    Thinking about this logically it makes a whole lot of sense. If you just continue you normal diet and stick to a regular diet, we are all creatures of habit after all, then the amount of warfarin required to get your INR to the required level will be whatever it is. If you go out of your way to avoid all the food items that contain vitamin K not only are you putting yourself at risk of a deficiency in any number of other vitamins that are contained in these foods you are also artificially lowering your normal intake which will just have the effect of reducing the amount of warfarin required to hit INR target.

    If you are eating minimal vitamin K and you try a different food that is, unknown to you, high in vitamin K or one that is known to you but you just want it then you can easily increase your daily vitamin K intake by 100% – 200% or more for that day which will have a drastic effect on your INR. On the other hand if you eat your normal amount of Vitamin K and try the new food this is more likely to only effect the overall daily intake by say 10% – 20% and have much less an effect.

    So there is likely to be a correlation between wildly fluctuating INR levels and actively reducing Vitamin K in your diet.

    So I am doing exactly what the doctor ordered and eating a normal balanced diet added consistent to it eating all the things that I like. My INR level has been stable from the start of the treatment.

    Does this make sense to others?


    • Christina says:

      Hello Tim,

      My mother has recently developed a pulmonary embolism due to a knee replacement surgery she had in March.

      I did some immediate research on the statistics of fatalities when our family found out she had the blood clot and then I immediately stopped. After gathering the information I did regarding the PE, I was frightened, I wasn’t ready to lose my mom!

      She is home now recovering fantastic from the knee replacement and she will be taking the coumadin for a while to prevent any other blood clots. I take her blood pressure every night and it’s really high. (150/100-90) I haven’t contacted her doctor regarding that, but I am assuming it’s so high due to the blood thinning medication.

      My question to you and to all of you on this blog is; how’s life for you now since your PE? The quality? What does your diet consist of?

      There was someone that commented about those that developed the embolism are lucky to be alive and that is very true. I am very grateful and lucky that my mom has survived this condition. I also read there is a PE awareness month?! That would be interesting and I would like more information on that.

      Thanks everyone for your great information!

  10. Jan says:

    Tim: Your information is exactly what my mother’s doctor advised her. He said her Coumadin requirements and blood levels will be under much better control if she continued to eat the foods she likes, to eat a well balanced diet, and use good judgment if she decides to eat the foods high in Vit. K. So it is important to educate yourself on the foods you already eat, so you don’t do harm. The key is consistency. It works for her. Jan

  11. Kris says:

    The problem with these blood thinning medications is that they block Vitamin K activity, and therefore also block some of the secondary functions of Vitamin K not related to blood clotting.

    You should definitely ask the doctor about the possible side effects of using these medications for the long term.

  12. Peggy Guntis says:

    The problem I have with the list is that it lists any number of items – like iceberg lettuce- on all three lists-high, medium, and low. I am on warfarain and don’t know how much I should allow myself to eat. Any help would be appreciated.

  13. Dawn says:

    As an RN, I am aware of the confusion that surrounds eating leafy green vegetables. The key is not to avoid them – just simply eat the same amount you normally do to maintain the proper INR levels.

  14. Terry says:

    This list leaves me a bit confused. On one page it says that carrots are low, and on another page it says they are medium. ???

  15. Julie says:

    Thanks Thomas!
    I just spent last weekend in the hospital with PE, partial collapsed lung and early onset of pneumonia… It was caused by my Temoxifen that I’m taking for post breast cancer treatment. Needless to say, it’s been a fun year… NOT!!

    I wanted to thank you for sharing this information with everyone. I didn’t realize what kind of
    difference one small Cesar Salad could make on my INR #’s! I’m going to put the website on my phone so I can look up foods when I go out to eat.

  16. Jen says:

    Hi everyone,

    I was recently diagnosed with a bilateral PE about a month ago. Im On warfarin and My INR has been therapeutic since leaving the hospital. I have been on a ton of different sites that have conflicting info about high and low levels of vitamin k so I understand how annoying it is. What I have started to do for myself to keep track of amounts of vitamin k as well as food I eat is to keep a daily food journal where I put amounts of food, my Coumadin dose for the day (3/3/6) pattern and on days I get the INR checked what the number is.

    I also use the hospital meal planner as a guide. They gave me 3-4 oz of meat or fish, 4oz or 1/2 cup of veggie and potato . Most serving sizes with the high vita K content is 1 cup so half a cup you still get your green leafy veggies but don’t go overboard. The food journal helps the consistency and it has helped me a lot.

    Due to the severity of my PE I have to be on Coumadin for a year so I hope it all gets easier.

    This is a good free list however I paid $4.95 to get a list and serving sizes from dr gourmet. Make sure you check years for up to date info on the Internet.

    Good Luck to all! 😉

  17. Mark says:

    I had multiple PEs 18 months ago and the advice I got was don’t change your diet too much, but avoid some of the stuff (cranberries in particular – shucks I don’t like them anyway!) really high in Vit K. I had no trouble with my INR once they got the Warfarin right.

    Sadly, I’ve just suffered a DVT so I’m back on Warfarin now for life 🙁

  18. Lisa says:

    Thanks so much for this information. I suffered multiple PE in August, most likely caused by the Yaz birth control I was taking (at age 49), and this has meant major changes in my life. I appreciate having this website to check the foods I should avoid, or moderate.

  19. Deb says:

    I have just spent the last week getting acquainted with the many hassles of warfarin after suffering bilateral PE’s – first ones & still trying to get my INR therapeutic, so still on lovenox. Yuk. While I was in the hospital a friend recommended checking out the “new” blood thinners which don’t constantly fluctuate and don’t require constant monitoring. Since I travel, eat a very uneven diet, and don’t have steady access to my MD & lab for testing I was relieved to learn that both Xarelto and Pradaxa are out there. Looks like Xarelto has been approved by FDA for DVT/PE and Pradaxa works is sometimes prescribed for same, but not officially approved for that use by FDA. The stats seem to show that they both work as well as or better than warfarin & the incidence of bleeds & fatal bleeds is about the same. The big problem is that there is no antidote (like a quick Vit K) shot if you do get a bleed. But, if the number of fatal bleeds is the same, the risk is the same, antidote or no antidote, right? Also, no wondering if I’ve lost my blood thinning by eating an occaisional salad bar. And wondering if I’ve gotten it back up to therapeutic, driving myself nuts til I can get an INR. They both are $40 instead of $10 copay drugs for my insurance which is a lot, but I had decided it might be worth it for 6 months for the convenience and stress reduction. Then found on the Xarelto website that they have a customer card which can reduce the copay to $10. Done deal as far as I’m concerned. Talking to my doctor Monday (when I go in for yet another INR). She’s going to love it after all we’ve been through messing with the warfarin this week. If anyone sees any fault in my logic, could you please let me know? Unsually things that seem like a no-brainer are too good to be true. Thanks.

    • Jen says:

      Deb- have you tried testing at home? If you go to or google Phillips
      Remote Cardiac Services(they recently changed names though) you will find information to do your testing at home -once a week and call in the #. As for being therapeutic- that comes from the consistency of your diet.
      I’m friends with someone in pharmaceutical industry as a pharmacist who does not currently recommend pradaxa. Xarelto being new is also a risk because its new- he didn’t say not to use it but recommended I stay on warfarin bc I’ve been therapeutic and warfarin has been around for a long time so more studies done and research.
      The major issues with being less than 2.0 is diet. I do a high K veggie every other day- and that helps keep my INR stable. The other thing with warfarin is maybe you need to take a higher mg amount. My amounts have changed a few times. For me I have to take 3mg M/F and 6mg the rest of the week. The part about the no antidote thing scares me with these newer drugs. But to each her own.
      I would say try playing around with the dosage and find out about home INR testing. Especially with traveling, it will save a ton of time.

      Hope this helps a bit.and fingers crossed for your therapeutic levels

      • Deborah says:

        Hi Jen – Thank you for your thoughtful reply to my post. I’m now 6 mos out from the embolisms and have had no more problems. It took me a LONG time to heal! I’ve never been constitutionally sick before, so it was tough. I researched Xarelto on the internet that whole weekend & decided that the benefits outweighed the risk for me, and found that they had a $10 copay card which worked with my insurance. I talked to my Dr. about it that Monday & although she had never prescribed it before she agreed to let me try. I’m really grateful because I realized I would have gone nuts never knowing for sure whether I was therapeutic on warfarin. I’m a worry wart! Anyway, I’m just a couple weeks short of going off it after 6 mos. I’ve had a couple minor side effects, both just occasionally & easily tolerable – itchy skin and a little hair loss(not so you’d notice). I’m not sure I would have been able to afford it long term without the copay card (good for 12 refills). But I’m really happy with the outcome – I’m still here and I can breath again! Now ready for the next phase. Thanks again and best of luck to you with your recovery. Deborah

  20. VB says:

    Thanks a lot each one of you for sharing so much useful information. I developed PE last week in my right lung, which doctors say is a result of thrombosis in my left leg. I had a 5th metatarsal fracture last month and still have my cast on. At the age 38, it’s quite shocking for me, given that I was quite active even after the fracture and always have had a healthy lifestyle. I am still on Clexane 0.6 ml shots twice daily. Warfarin will probably begin next week. Quite scared about the side effects such as as excessive bleeding. Wondering what lifestyle changes I should make to ensure quick recovery? Can I continue with my regular brisk walking schedule (30-40 minutes each day)? Want to quickly get well within 6 months 🙂

    • Jeanette says:

      Make sure your breathing is ok and you don’t get shortness of breath. I would go get a pulse oximeter, which measures your heartrate and your oxygen levels (if this is an issue for me). I had bilateral pulm emboli and i still have residual clot in my lungs ( 2+ years since incident) and when I exercise, more so strenuously, my blood oxygen levels drop into the 80s. Even though I quickly recover, the clot has also caused mild pulm hypertension and I’m still on the coumadin due to the oxygen levels dropping.

      Don’t be scared about the side effects, but do heed caution in your everyday life. Try not to bang your arms, legs, head, etc.The lifestyle changes I took was quit smoking completely. I didn’t drink alcohol at all for like 2 years. Now my max is 2 drinks (and it all depends on my INR). I don’t know if you are male or female, but stop the hormonal birth control and losing weight is very important too. Also, increase your water intake.

      The fastest way to recovery is to NOT rush it and believe me, you will get impatient and aggravated, but know that you are one of the lucky ones and don’t push it. I don’t know how long you have to be on warfarin for either, but see if you can do the at-home testing. Go to this website to get more information. It will save you a TON of time monitoring it on your own and I think most insurance companies cover it.

      I’m sorry to hear that you have gone through this experience, but it will get better. I promise. I was 33 when it happened and terrified (panic attacks and the works!) Nowadays I am much better. Take care of yourself and listen to your body. Good Luck! 🙂

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