63 Foods Rich In Phosphorus
1. Pumpkin Seeds
1233 mg / 100g
100g of pumpkin seeds contains 1233 mg of phosphorus, as well as very good amounts of other vitamins and minerals, including heart healthy omega fatty acids. Enjoy them as a snack, or add them to smoothies, trail mix and homemade bread.
2. Chia Seeds
860 mg / 100g
A 28g serving of chia seeds contains as much as 27% of the daily allowance of phosphorus, as well as very good levels of many other minerals and nearly half of your daily allowance of dietary fibre! The easiest ways to include them in the diet is to add a tablespoon or so to smoothies, cereals, porridge or homemade bread.
3. Brazil Nuts
725 mg / 100g
Whilst they are high in fat, Brazil nuts are also an abundant source of omega fatty acids, as well as nearly 100% of the daily requirement of phosphorus per cup. Brazil nuts are traditionally used in desserts, but are also delicious chopped and added to cereal or yogurt, and can even be used to make pesto in place of pine nuts.
4. Sunflower Seeds
660 mg / 100g
Adding sunflower seeds to the diet will greatly increase the levels of minerals that are needed for good health, including phosphorus. They are also a very good source of protein, dietary fibre and omega 6 fatty acids. Enjoy them plain as a snack, add them to homemade bread or sprinkle over cereal with other seeds for a healthful start to the day.
5. Flax Seeds
642 mg / 100g
Flax seeds are an abundant source of many important nutrients, containing a good dose of dietary fibre and omega fatty acids, making them very beneficial to good heart health. Incorporating more flax seeds into your diet is as simple as adding a tablespoon of them to homemade energy bars and trail mix, or kneading some into your bread.
6. Sesame Seeds
629 mg / 100g
Sesame seeds are often used to make tahini, which is one of the key components of hummus and can be added to smoothies for a good dose of protein and minerals, including phosphorus. Sesame seeds also make a delicious addition to homemade bread and cereal toppers.
7. Cashew Nuts
593 mg / 100g
Whilst cashew nuts are popular in vegan circles thanks to their ability to create tasty dairy-free cheeses and milks, they are also delicious in a number of other recipes including chicken and cashew nut stir fry, pilau rice and satay sauce. Cashew nuts have quite a mild flavour that also makes them ideal for making flavoured nut butter.
8. Pine Nuts
575 mg / 100g
Pine nuts are often used as the base for creating pesto, but also taste delicious simply toasted and eaten as a snack. Their mild flavour means that they can be flavoured with numerous ingredients. These creamy nuts are also an amazing source of phosphorus containing around 78% of the daily requirement per cup.
523 mg / 100g
Oats are an amazing source of many vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. A one cup serving contains 53% of the daily requirement of protein, 66% of the daily requirement of fibre and 82% of the daily requirement of phosphorus. Oats are great for bulking out meat-based meals and make a delicious breakfast as porridge.
10. Pistachio Nuts
490 mg / 100g
Pistachio nuts taste great as a snack, which is the way in which they are normally consumed. However, there are a number of great recipes that they can be used in including tabbouleh salad, for seasoning meat and even turned into a cream for swirling into spicy sweet potato soup.
481 mg / 100g
Almonds provide a unique and delicious flavour to most recipes. They are also an incredibly rich source of phosphorus, with one cup of whole almonds containing 69% of the daily allowance. Enjoy them sliced and added as cereal toppings, or eat them whole with other nuts and dried fruit as a healthy snack.
457 mg / 100g
Quinoa is an excellent alternative to rice and couscous to serve alongside curry or steamed fish and salad, but it also makes a delicious rice and vegetable-style salad. It is also one of the few plant-based foods that is classed as a complete protein, which is usually only available from animal sources.
13. Black Turtle Beans
440 mg / 100g
Black turtle beans are a brilliant source of most of the nutrients that our bodies need, including 28% of the daily requirement of phosphorus per cup. These beans are a staple part of South American cooking and make their way into burritos and chillies, or are turned into a nutritious bean paste for wraps.
14. Kidney Beans
407 mg / 100g
These creamy, kidney shaped beans are so incredibly versatile, nutritious and cheap that they are the mainstay of many people's cupboards. They are an important component of chilli, but can also be used to make bean burgers, goulash and rice & beans. A cup of kidney beans also provides nearly a quarter of your daily phosphorus needs.
15. Lima Beans
385 mg / 100g
More commonly known as butter beans, lima beans have a creamy, mild flavour that allows them to be used in a variety of recipes, adding a good dose of nutrients without affecting the overall taste of the dish. They can be added to spicy bean soup or chilli and can help bulk out the protein in a mince-based dish like savoury mince.
16. Adzuki Beans
381 mg / 100g
These small red beans originate in East Asia and have a sweet, nutty taste. They are a very good source of dietary fibre which can help you feel fuller for longer, as well as cleanse the gut of cholesterol before it reaches the blood stream. Include adzuki beans in the diet by adding them to bean stew and chilli.
376 mg / 100g
A single cup of peanuts contains more than half the daily allowance of phosphorus, as well as many other nutrients including dietary fibre and protein. Peanuts can be enjoyed on their own as a snack, blended to make homemade peanut butter or added to curries.
346 mg / 100g
Like most nuts, walnuts are an abundant source of minerals, as well as protein and dietary fibre that are all important for maintaining good health. They add a delicious crunch to homemade coleslaw and Waldorf salad. They also work very well in nut loaf and nut burgers.
290 mg / 100g
These naturally sweet nuts, also referred to as filberts, make a great addition to trail mix and can also be blended with cocoa and a natural sweetener, like agave syrup, to create a far healthier version of chocolate spread. Hazelnuts can also be finely chopped and added to nut loaf or stuffing.
281 mg / 100g
Lentils can be used in place of meat in a variety of dishes including bolognaise sauce and chilli. Additionally, they can be used to make lentil loaf, which is like meat loaf only using lentils instead of mince. A single cup of lentils contains around 87% of the daily allowance of phosphorus, as well as huge doses of many other nutrients.
277 mg / 100g
These delicious nuts lend a wonderfully woody, smoky flavour to any recipe and work very well in nut loaf, stuffing and trail mix. Pecans can also be chopped and used in nut burgers and cutlets. They are linked to numerous health benefits that include lowering cholesterol and protecting against infection.
22. Brown Rice
264 mg / 100g
This chewy, nutty flavoured rice is far healthier than white rice and provides you with a surprising number of nutrients, including 16% of the daily requirement of phosphorus per cup. Brown rice works incredibly well as an ingredient for egg fried rice and cold rice salad because it doesn't stick together in the way that white rice does.
254 mg / 100g
The level of phosphorus available in tuna depends on the species, with bluefin containing 22% of the daily allowance per 85g serving, yellowfin containing 16% per 85g serving and skipjack containing 19% per 85g serving. Tuna is delicious in sandwiches, or lightly steamed and served with brown rice and green salad.
24. Garbanzo Beans
252 mg / 100g
As well as using garbanzo beans to make hummus, which in itself is a nutritious and healthy foodstuff, you can also add them to bean stew or spicy bean soup to give the dish an extra dose of protein. Garbanzo beans can even be roasted with different flavourings like garlic or chilli to create a far healthier snack alternative to crisps.
227 mg / 100g
Haddock is a white fish that is commonly sold battered in fish and chip shops, however it also makes a great addition to chowder and fish pie recipes because it has quite a mild flavour that enables it to take on other flavours in the recipe. An average sized fillet of haddock can contain as much as a third of the daily allowance of phosphorus.
217 mg / 100g
Mackerel is one of the cheapest oily fish available to buy, providing very good levels of heart and brain healthy omega fatty acids. It has quite a strong flavour that lends itself well to fish curries and risottos. Mackerel is also a key ingredient in kedgeree, a kind of rice, egg and fish dish that has been lightly spiced.
214 mg / 100g
Shrimp, also known as prawns, are delicious in paella and stir fry. They also add a wonderful, almost chicken flavour to fish pies and make an excellent sandwich filling. Indeed, because they tend to taste more like chicken than fish, shrimp are ideal for serving to fussy children who might not like the flavour of fish.
213 mg / 100g
Chicken is better for your health than red meat, being associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and better weight loss and management. It can be used as an alternative in almost any recipe that calls for fish or pork, but is especially delicious turned into stew, curry, or served with a jacket potato, garlic butter and salad.
210 mg / 100g
Fresh corn is a colourful and tasty addition to savoury mince, fish pie and chilli, whilst dried corn is used to make popcorn, which is a healthy alternative to crisps. Dried corn can even be ground into flour for use in corn bread and corn muffins, making this vegetable grain an incredibly versatile crop.
30. Dark Chocolate
206 mg / 100g
When buying dark chocolate, buy one with a high cocoa content to ensure the maximum number of nutrients. A 100g bar of good quality chocolate contains 31% of the daily allowance of phosphorus compared to a lesser quality bar. Dark chocolate is delicious as a snack and a few squares can turn a simple chilli into an indulgently rich tasting dish.
200 mg / 100g
Half of an average sized fillet of salmon contains around 37% of the daily requirement of phosphorus, as well as good amounts of other vitamins and minerals. It is wonderful lightly steamed and served with new potatoes, garlic butter and salad.
198 mg / 100g
The humble egg can be simply scrambled, poached or soft boiled and served with toast for breakfast or salad and buttery new potatoes for an easy dinner. An average sized egg is also going to provide you with a good dose of most vitamins and minerals, including about 8% of your daily phosphorus needs.
197 mg / 100g
Mussels make a great addition to paella and fish pie, but also work very well in fish chowder and fish curries, and are often enjoyed as a simple snack with chilli or garlic sauce. They are an abundant source of protein and vitamin B12, as well as numerous essential minerals that are important for maintaining good health.
190 mg / 100g
Turkey is considered to be one of the healthier meats since it is low in fat and a lean source of protein. It can be used in place of other poultry, like chicken, in curries, soups and stews. The bones from turkey also make a tasty stock that can be used as a base for gravy and soups.
35. Macadamia Nuts
188 mg / 100g
Despite their popularity in desserts, macadamia nuts also work incredibly well in savoury dishes like nut loaf, nut burgers and curries. They can even be flavoured and roasted to provide a delicious, healthy snack that is a good alternative to crisps. Together with phosphorus, macadamia nuts provide a good dose of many important vitamins and minerals.
36. Grass Fed Beef
175 mg / 100g
A typical serving of grass fed beef steak, weighing in at around 200g, contains nearly half of your daily requirement of phosphorus as well as plenty of other essential vitamins and minerals. It is delicious lightly grilled and served with garlic butter and green salad, but also makes a wonderful bolognaise sauce or beef wellington.
170 mg / 100g
Tilapia are freshwater fish that are quite mild in flavour. This tasty fish can be used in any recipe that calls for white fish such as fish pie, paella and fish chowder. You can also steam or grill it and serve with rice, lemon and crunchy vegetables.
161 mg / 100g
Edamame are immature soybeans that are an excellent source of plant-based protein and dietary fibre, which helps leave you feeling fuller for longer and can also help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. They can be enjoyed as a snack when roasted with chilli or garlic and are delicious in stir fries.
39. Cottage Cheese
159 mg / 100g
Cottage cheese is often touted as a weight loss miracle because it is low in fat and high in protein, so it leaves you feeling fuller for longer without any extra fat going where it shouldn't. Use it in place of Béchamel sauce in lasagne or serve it with fresh pineapple and mango for lunch.
135 mg / 100g
Often famed for being good for supporting healthy teeth and bones because of its high calcium content, yogurt also has a very good amount of phosphorus, around 23% of the daily allowance per cup. It works very well in smoothies and can be stirred through curry for a healthier alternative to cream.
113 mg / 100g
Coconut adds a wonderfully chewy, exotic flavour to many recipes. It is also thought to play a role in helping to alleviate the symptoms of neurological diseases like Alzheimer's. Include more coconut in your diet by adding it to fruit salads and trail mix, or stirring flaked coconut through yogurt.
112 mg / 100g
The levels of phosphorus available in mushrooms depends greatly on the type of mushroom being used; regular button mushrooms contain around 2% of the daily allowance per 28g serving, Shiitake mushrooms contain 8% and oyster mushrooms contain 3%. Mushrooms taste great on toast with garlic butter and add a good dose of nutrition to stir fries, bolognaise and carbonara.
108 mg / 100g
Peas are incredibly versatile vegetables and can be enjoyed as a simple side dish to meat or fish, but also stirred through rice salad, added to stir fries and curries, or pureed in a soup. They are a surprisingly abundant source of many important nutrients.
101 mg / 100g
Tasty as snacks or added to trail mixes, raisins are an excellent source of many important vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fibre which helps maintain good cardiovascular and digestive health. Raisins can also be added to curries for a delicious sweet bite that works very well with savoury flavours and spices.
97 mg / 100g
A single oyster can contain very good quantities of many important vitamins and minerals, especially B12, and depending on the species can provide between 8% and 14% of the daily requirement of phosphorus per 85g serving. Oysters are often consumed steamed with butter and lemon, but also make a wonderful oyster stew.
92 mg / 100g
Kale is something of a superfood in many health food circles, and with good reason. It contains generous amounts of nearly every vitamin and mineral our bodies need and has been shown to have some pretty potent anti-cancer qualities. You can enjoy kale in salad, or add it to stir fries and soups for an impressive nutrient boost.
90 mg / 100g
These delicious vegetables are great whether eaten fresh or from the jar – indeed, canned artichoke hearts are simply delicious on pizza or merely enjoyed on their own as a snack. Artichokes are also an excellent accompaniment to fish and white meat dishes; to retain nutrients, it is best to steam them.
48. Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)
73 mg / 100g
Native to Italy, broccoli rabe is a bitter tasting, cruciferous vegetable that looks like a smaller cousin of broccoli, but is actually related to wild mustard greens. The Italians are the best at cooking broccoli rabe and they do this by blanching it in salty water, then smothering in olive oil and garlic to serve as a side to meats or pasta.
71 mg / 100g
Parsnips are sweet like carrots but also provide a slightly sour taste that is exemplified by roasting them and is exquisite when served with white meats. This same flavour means that parsnips also work very well in soups, curries and casseroles, whether vegetarian or meat-based.
50. Brussels Sprouts
69 mg / 100g
This Christmas dinner vegetable is delicious chopped and fried with garlic and turkey; it also makes an excellent addition to warm winter salads when steamed and flaked through grilled tomatoes, onions and mushrooms. Brussels sprouts provide a huge dose of vitamins C and K, as well as 6% of the daily requirement of phosphorus per cup.
69 mg / 100g
Prunes are basically dried plums; the drying process seems to increase the levels of nutrients that they contain, which is why they are thought to be so good for health. They are commonly eaten as a snack or juiced, as well as being used in tagine. Prunes can also be used to make a mulled wine-style sauce that is divine with meat.
52. Passion Fruit
68 mg / 100g
The seeds of the passion fruit are the edible part and provide the most wonderfully exotic flavour to smoothies, fruit salads and homemade chia pudding. They can also jazz up a plain yogurt for breakfast and work surprisingly well with strong hard cheeses and crackers as a snack.
66 mg / 100g
Because it is a cruciferous vegetable and therefore contains sulforaphane, broccoli can help to protect against cancer. The best way to enjoy broccoli is lightly steamed as a side dish to meat or vegetarian dishes. However, broccoli is also delicious baked into homemade macaroni cheese or added to stir fries.
54. Dandelion Greens
66 mg / 100g
Dandelion greens contain a huge amount of vitamins A and K, which are important for blood and eye health. They also contain around 4% of the daily allowance of phosphorus per cup. These bitter greens are ideal for steaming and serving with meat dishes, but also taste delicious stirred through linguine and mussels.
62 mg / 100g
Dates provide a delicious, toffee-like sweetness to any dish they are added to, thanks to the condensing of sugars that occurs during the drying process that creates them. They are delicious added to homemade granola and healthy breakfast bars, and even work very well as a topping on pizza alongside the spiciness of sliced, fresh chillies!
61 mg / 100g
Okra is often used to help thicken recipes like gumbo because it contains compounds that make it break down into a gelatinous substance. It is also delicious roasted to serve as a side dish, which prevents it from becoming so gelatinous, or used to make spiced okra curry.
60 mg / 100g
Watercress has a delightfully peppery flavour that enables it to make a delicious tasting soup. It can also be added to salads in place of, or in accompaniment to, other salad leaves and even works very well in stir fries and curry. A one cup serving contains around 2% of the daily requirement of phosphorus.
58. Mustard Greens
58 mg / 100g
Mustard greens are a surprisingly rich source of vitamins A and C, which makes them beneficial in maintaining healthy eyesight and skin cell production. They have a strong, peppery flavour that makes them ideal for use in a side salad to serve with red meat and taste delicious lightly fried and served with lemon juice and garlic.
53 mg / 100g
Rutabaga is more commonly known as swede, a delicious root vegetable with a sweet flavour. It is often served as root mash with carrots or sweet potato, but is also delicious blended and turned into a soup. Being a traditional winter vegetable, swede works very well in many kinds of warming stews and casseroles.
52 mg / 100g
To enjoy asparagus at its best, you should eat it when it is in season. Asparagus can be enjoyed lightly grilled on a barbeque and dipped in butter and lemon, but it also makes a delicious soup and is a healthier alternative to toast soldiers for dipping in soft boiled eggs for breakfast.
52 mg / 100g
Arugula is more commonly known as rocket and adds a deliciously bitter, peppery flavour to salads. However, it also works very well in cooked dishes like pasta sauce, as a base for making pesto and even as a topping on homemade pizza. Leafy greens like arugula help protect against cancer and diabetes.
52 mg / 100g
Avocados are a rich source of plant-based omega fatty acids that make them important in helping to maintain heart health. They are often used as a creamy, non-dairy base in many vegan recipes and are the core ingredient in guacamole. Avocados are also a healthy and delicious alternative to mayonnaise in sandwiches.
50 mg / 100g
Adding sliced fennel to a salad gives it a wonderful aniseed flavour that works especially well in green salads that also contain onion and use lemon as a dressing. Fennel is also delicious roasted with peppers, aubergines and tomatoes in a Mediterranean style ratatouille, or when added to homemade coleslaw to give it a lovely zing.
The importance of phosphorus is often overlooked in favour of minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium, but it really shouldn’t be. It is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, being second only to calcium, and makes up around 1% of a person’s body weight. Phosphorus is found in every cell in the body, with around 80% of it stored in the bones and teeth.
The primary function of phosphorus is to help calcium to form healthy teeth and bones; indeed, it is understood that calcium produces stronger bones when it works in balance with phosphorus than when it doesn’t. Phosphorus also plays a role in helping the kidneys to filter out waste products from the body and also helps it decide how it stores and uses energy.
Finally, phosphorus is needed to produce DNA and RNA, the genetic building blocks of life, and also helps to keep the other vitamins and minerals in balance, as well as ensuring that they can be used by the body effectively.
Why Is Phosphorus Important?
As explained above, phosphorus is understood to play an important function in helping calcium to build strong bones. A recent study examined exactly what effect calcium and phosphorus had on bone density, compared to calcium alone. The results showed that calcium and phosphorus together had a positive effect on bone density. However, further research needs to be done in this area to establish exactly what effect phosphorus can have on bone health.
It is essential that phosphorus levels in the body are kept at safe levels because too much or too little can have adverse effects on the body. That said, it is understood that slightly higher than normal levels of phosphorus can have a lowering effect on blood pressure. A 2012 study concluded that phosphorus from dairy products resulted in lower blood pressure and another 2012 study showed that phosphorus, along with other minerals, was associated with a lowering effect on systolic blood pressure, which is the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts.
The recommended intake of phosphorus is the same for both males and females during every stage of life, except one – pregnancy for those under the age of eighteen.
Babies under six months old need about 100mg of phosphorus a day; those aged seven to twelve months require about 275mg a day.
Between one and three years of age, children need about 460mg a day of phosphorus. When they are between four and eight years of age, this amount increases slightly to 500mg a day.
During the prepubescent and adolescent years of nine to eighteen years old, young people need around 1,250mg of phosphorus a day. This is also the amount that young women who are pregnant and aged eighteen or under need as well.
From the age of nineteen years and older, adults require 700mg a day of phosphorus, which is also the same for pregnant and lactating women.
Phosphorus deficiency is quite uncommon because the mineral is in abundance in a large number of foods including dairy products, nuts, eggs, meat and wholegrains. That said, a deficiency of phosphorus is something that should be taken seriously because it can affect the body’s ability to make strong bones, as well as causing anaemia, rickets in children and its equivalent disease in adults, osteomalacia.
The symptoms of phosphorus deficiency include stiff joints, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, tiredness, numbness, irritability and anxiety. A phosphorus deficiency in children may also present as poor bone and tooth development and a general decline in growth.
Despite the fact that phosphorus deficiency is quite rare, there are certain groups that are more at risk of developing a deficiency than others, and they include:
- Alcoholics – over consumption of alcohol means that essential nutrients cannot be absorbed as well as they should be, including phosphorus; it is also generally understood that alcoholics have a tendency to not eat well, which means that their access to dietary phosphorus is limited.
- Malnourished and anorexic individuals – because we get our phosphorus from our diet, those who are malnourished from not eating a varied and balanced diet will find that their phosphorus intakes are not as high as those who do eat a balanced diet. People suffering from anorexia will also find that their phosphorus levels are lower than normal because they are not eating enough food to sustain the levels of essential vitamins and minerals that their bodies need.
- Diabetics recovering after an attack of ketoacidosis – diabetic ketoacidosis occurs after a period of high blood glucose which results in a lack of insulin; this prevents the body from using glucose as energy and results in the body breaking down tissue to provide an alternative energy source. After such an episode, the body is likely to be deficient in a number of essential vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus.
Risks And Warnings
Despite the risk of developing a phosphorus deficiency being low, the risk of having abnormally high levels of phosphorus is not. Indeed, high levels of phosphorus are actually more common than a deficiency because it is present in a large number of foods, and one of the most common causes of high phosphorus levels is supplements. It is generally recommended that individuals only take phosphorus supplements under the supervision and direction of a doctor because of the issues surrounding taking too much phosphorus.
High levels of phosphorus are toxic and can cause hardening of organs and soft tissue, diarrhoea and reduce the absorption and effectiveness of other important minerals like calcium and iron. Particularly where calcium is concerned, having too much phosphorus in the body encourages the body to tap into its stores of calcium to compensate and keep the minerals in balance. This in turn can cause bones to become brittle since the stores of calcium come from bone marrow.
It is also understood that phosphorus can interact with certain types of medication including antacids, insulin, blood pressure medication and anticonvulsants. If you are taking phosphorus supplements for any reason, it is important to speak to a doctor about the effects they could have on any other prescribed medication you are receiving.