Table of Contents
What is Phosphorus? Why do we need it?
After Calcium, the most abundant mineral present in our body is Phosphorus. There is about 400-700 g of phosphorus contained in the body. Like Calcium, most of it is present in bones and teeth and the remaining in soft tissues and body fluids. It is an important mineral as its abundance suggests. We need it because it performs various important functions and tasks in our body.
Why Phosphorus Foods?
These are the functions that phosphorus performs in our body.
1. Development of bones and teeth
Weak and fragile bones doesn’t always mean calcium deficiency. Phosphorus has equally important role in bone health. The ratio of Calcium and Phosphorus in the bones is roughly 2:1. Calcium in the bone combines with phosphorus, some other minerals and water to form a compound. It is this compound which provides rigidity and firmness to the bones. More Phosphorus is needed in growing years.
2. Regulation of body processes
Phosphorus performs regulatory functions as well.
3. Fat transport
Usually, people have negative impression of fats. You must know that fats perform many function like energy giving and insulation in our body. Phosphorus helps in formation of a substance which aids in transport of fat in body.
4. Coenzyme formation
When enzymes are lonely and lazy, they need coenzymes to push and help them in their biochemical processes. Phosphorus helps in synthesis of certain coenzymes which play a crucial role in metabolism.
5. Genetic Material synthesis
You wouldn’t have been you without phosphorus, literally. Phosphorus is a crucial component in structure of our genetic material i.e. DNA. DNA is responsible for all the characteristics and traits of our body. It helps in passing of information from generation to generation
6. Storing energy
You must have heard of Mitochondria- the power house of cell. It stores energy in the form of Adenine Tri-Phosphate commonly known as ATP. Muscle cells are rich on Mitochondria and phosphorus helps in energy storage to fuel muscle contractions.
7. Cell membrane
You may get surprised to know that Phosphorus is basically responsible for the shape and firmness of all cells in your body. Phosphorus in the form of Phospho-lipid is present in the cell membranes.
How much Phosphorus ?
Healthy individuals can consume up to 1600 to 2000 mg of phosphorus everyday. Individuals suffering from kidney diseases must consume half this amount i.e. 800 to 1000 mg.
15 High Phosphorus Foods-
Now that you know why Phosphorus is so important, you must wonder how can you make up the required amount of it in your diet. Luckily, a variety of food items contain Phosphorus. These can be consumed according to your liking. Some of the high Phosphorus foods are:
1. Soya beans
Just one cup of soya beans is more than enough to fulfill your daily requirement of phosphorus. Soya beans are considered to be the richest plant source of proteins. What’s more? Even vegans and vegetarians can fulfill their protein needs by soybean products, such as textured vegetable protein (TVP) in many meat and dairy substitutes. Soya bean products like tofu made from soya milk is a substitute of paneer for vegans and lactose intolerant individuals. Phosphorus is not destroyed in making of these products which is an additional benefit.
Eggs are the most consumed poultry product. One whole egg contains about 86 mg of phosphorus. Most of it is concentrated in the yolk (about 81 mg). Eggs are easy to make and taste good. There are innumerable ways of making eggs: sunny side ups, omelettes, boiled, boiled and mashed, pan mashed, hard boiled being few of them. The shell of the egg protects the nutrients from getting washed away during boiling. Apart from Phosphorus, eggs are also rich in other minerals and proteins.
Nuts, in particular Brazil nuts, are great sources of Phosphorus. Brazil nuts provide more than 60% of the total requirement of Phosphorus. Other nuts like Cashews, Almonds, Pistachios are also rich in Phosphorus. One limitation is that these contain phytic acid which is an inhibitor. It makes the nuts indigestible. Soaking the nuts over-night or for few hours helps to over-come this.
4. Milk and Yogurt
Milk and yogurt among the dairy products have a balanced amount of calcium:phosphorus ratio. Consuming 2 glasses of milk and a bowl of yogurt every day can fulfill daily phosphorus requirements. Health conscious individuals can consume low fat dairy products without having to compromise with phosphorus levels. Only limitation is that lactose intolerant people and vegans cannot consume these products.
5. Beans and Lentils
All the lentils we consume, whether it is Bengal gram, black gram, green gram, etc or beans like kidney beans (rajma), red cow pea (chori) etc. contain high amount of phosphorus. Indian diet consist of these beans and lentils in abundance and hence phosphorus can be obtained. Only limitation is that phosphorus in plant products like these cannot be easily absorbed.
6. Poultry Products
Chicken, Turkey, Duck meat contains good amount of Phosphorus and can be easily absorbed in the body as compared to plant products. They are also high in protein and therefore people consume poultry meat. Advantage of poultry meat is that roasted meat does not lose much of the phosphorus content. Limitation is that boiling, frying or over cooking might lead to some loss. Poultry meat is also more expensive leading to dependence on plant products more.
Chocolate lovers who also wanna stay healthy, rejoice! You must think that chocolates are just for taste, some of you might think about them being aphrodisiac. Well, to our jolly they are quite rich in phosphorus. Of course, phosphorus comes from the cocoa beans. This is why dark chocolates are richer in phosphorus than white chocolates. If you’re the kind of person who prefers sweet chocolates, don’t worry at all. Milk chocolates have the phosphorus from milk as well. Next time someone complains about you having a sweet tooth, show them this article!
People living near the coast are lucky. You guys have a wide variety to choose from. Almost all fishes like Sardine, Mackerel, carp, catfish. crayfish etc. contain high amount of phosphorus. This phosphorus is also easily digested being obtained from animal products. These are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This has anti-inflammatory action and protects from cancer and certain heart diseases.
9. Crabs, Scallops and Clams
There is something for everyone! If you don’t like fish but love other sea food, you can still acquire enough phosphorus. Crabs contain about 240 mg of phosphorus which is almost 34% of what is required daily. Crabs are cooked with the outer tough shell and therefore do not lose their nutrients. Clams are delicious and great sources of phosphorus containing about 287 mg of it. Scallops are not behind with 284 mg and just as tasty.
10. Whole Grains
Wheat, rice, oat grains are extremely rich in phosphorus. Wheat has the most amount among these and oats the least. Phosphorus is present in the outer layer and inner layer of the endosperm. During the process of refining these layers are lost. This is why whole grains are considered healthier. Soaking, sprouting, fermenting the grains can break some of the phytic acid and increase absorption.
Different varieties have different amounts of phosphorus. 1 slice of Swiss cheese contains 159 mg of phosphorus while Romano contains 213 mg. It is advised to avoid processed cheese as it contains inorganic phosphorus which is absorbed by the human intestine entirely and may lead to excess accumulation of phosphorus in the body.
12. Red meat
Beef and Veal are among the richest sources of phosphorus. They are also considered tasty and full of proteins and other minerals. They can be consumed in the form of Steaks, Beef burgers, sandwiches, sausages, ground beef, etc.
13. Organ meat
Organ meats like brain, liver are excellent sources of phosphorus. Cow brain, chicken and fish liver, goat brain contain high amount of phosphorus. They also have many trace minerals, required fatty acids, proteins among other nutrients.
Vegetables are a treasure of minerals. Broccoli among them has one of the highest amounts of phosphorus. 1 cup cooked broccoli has about 104 mg of it. Broccoli can be added to many recipes like pasta, fried rice, biryani, cutlets, etc.
Tubers especially potatoes contain good amount of phosphorus. One large potato contains about 210 mg. Potatoes, as we know, are what every other vegetable dreams to be. All of us like at least one form of it whether it is French fries, wafers, boiled, mashed, in gravy, fried with spices. Bet you cant name a method of cooking that cant be used on potatoes. Limitation: Vodka from potatoes doesn’t have phosphorus but it still tastes awesome.
Can it be harmful?
Too much of nothing can be good. If you’re suffering from some kidney disease, you must be even more careful about intake of phosphorus. Accumulation of phosphorus in excess can create an imbalance in the calcium: phosphorus ratio. This can be harmful to you.