Cheese and Vitamin K

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Q: I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. I have not had any cheese in a couple of years since my diagnosis and I crave it. Is Gouda cheese the best choice for me if I want piece of cheese? Dr. Oz said Gouda can fight cancer.

Jennifer, Falmouth, Maine 

A: Gouda cheese is a hard cheese that contains vitamin K2, or menaquinone. It is the vitamin K2 in Gouda that is thought to fight cancer by killing cancerous cells. Ongoing research is exploring vitamins K2 and its role in heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer but little is known about its beneficial effects, if any. And, even less is known about how much we’d need to eat if it were able to help fight cancer.

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in blood clotting and metabolic processes. Besides vitamin K2, the other type of vitamin K is K1, or phylloquinone. Eating a well balanced diet can ensure you get enough vitamins K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is found in leafy greens like kale and mustard greens, as well as Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Vitamin K2 is found in fermented products like cheese and sauerkraut, as well as chicken, eggs and milk.

The benefit to fulfilling your craving for cheese is that besides vitamin K2, cheese will also give you calcium and protein. But, eating cheese every day can increase the amount of saturated fat in your diet. So, it is best to eat cheese in moderation and choose a variety of foods with vitamin K1 and K2. This will ensure you also get the fiber, antioxidants, protein and calcium you need.

For more information, see:
Supplements for Bones and Immune Systems
Food Cravings

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