This week’s Nutrition News evaluates the nutrients you could be getting from your dessert as well as the vital difference between vitamin K1 and K2.

Make sure you’re up to date by reading the latest research here.

The nutritional benefits of figs

Figs are a delicious fruit often found in desserts or on cheese boards, but they also have a wealth of health benefits due to their varied nutrient profile, according to this Healthline article.

As well as being a relatively low calorie dessert, at around 30 calories per fig, they’re also rich in copper, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, and vitamin K. These vitamins and minerals are important in the body in all sorts of ways, including supporting the normal function of the immune system, normal muscle function, and the normal function of the nervous system, to name just a few.

Each fig also contains no fat but 1 gram fibre, which is known to support digestive health and aids constipation.

The other benefit of figs is that there are plenty of easy ways to add them into your diet, whether that is fresh or dried, fig leaves or fig leaf tea, all provide nutritional benefits.

The foods association with collagen production

Collagen is a vital structural protein that gives structure to a number of tissues and organs in the body including the skin, blood vessels, bones and teeth, ligaments and cartilage, and internal organs. As a person ages, collagen declines, which leads to looser skin and wrinkles, so it is important to make sure the body is supported with collagen rich foods and food supplements, where they are needed for additional support.

Examples of foods involved in the production and synthesis of collagen are outlined in this article by Medical News Today, and include:

  • Bone broth
  • Animal meats
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Eggs

There are certain vitamins and minerals that also assist with collagen synthesis including vitamin C, zinc, manganese, and copper. This is why many collagen supplements include these nutrients also to aid with collagen bioavailability and synthesis.

The importance of differentiating between vitamin K1 and K2

Most people are aware that vitamin K is an essential nutrient but fewer people are aware that there is a vital difference between K1 and K2. A recent observational study on vitamin K from researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, University of Bergen, University of Oslo and Oral Health Center of Expertise, has evaluated the association between K1 and K2 heart health.

After following nearly 3,000 study participants, the researchers found that dietary intake of K2 was associated with fewer cases of poor heart health, whereas K1 was not. Speaking of the study, chief medical officer for NattoPharma, Dr Hogne Vik said, “Due to its very molecular structure, vitamin K2 can move beyond the liver to support other systems of the body, such as the bones and vasculature, where K1 cannot.”

While the study’s authors emphasise the importance of further research to cement their findings, it does give a strong indication as to the importance of differentiating between the two forms of vitamin K, especially in supplementation. Vitamin K2 is frequently included with D3 supplements as large amounts of D3 increases calcium in the blood, which needs to be regulated by the K2, which takes calcium to the bones through the activation of the bone hormone Osteocalcin.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.