Calcium and phosphorus are the most and second-most abundant minerals in the body, respectively. Like calcium, phosphorus is critical for building strong bones and teeth. You also need both minerals for your blood to clot properly. Unlike calcium, however, getting enough phosphorus is not a struggle for most people. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, having too much phosphorus in your system is much more common than not having enough.
Keeping your calcium, magnesium and phosphorus levels in proper balance is critical for good health; paying close attention to the ratio of calcium and phosphorus in your diet by eating foods that contain both minerals is a good place to start.
Fish, Meat and Dairy
Most types of meat, including beef, chicken and pork, are high in phosphorus but contain only low amounts of calcium. Many types of fish, however, including halibut, salmon and sardines, are rich in both calcium and phosphorus. Tuna contains a lot of phosphorus but not very much calcium--18mg per 3 oz. of cooked yellowfin.
Dairy products like milk, cheese, milkshakes and yogurt are all very high in both calcium and phosphorus. Ice cream contains a lot of calcium, but significantly less phosphorus.
Grains such as barley, wheat and oats are all high in phosphorus. Corn is the highest of all, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, with 860mg of phosphorus per cup of enriched, self-rising, degermed yellow cornmeal. Although these grains contain calcium too, they must be consumed in quantity to accumulate a significant amount of calcium, according to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements.
Seeds and Legumes
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are high in both phosphorus and calcium. Sesame seeds are high in calcium too, and contain significant but limited quantities of phosphorus--53mg per tbsp.
Legumes like black and navy beans are good sources of phosphorus and calcium. Soybeans are naturally high in phosphorus and calcium, and processed soy products like tofu and soy milk are rich in phosphorus, too. These processed soy products have significantly less calcium than whole soybeans, however, unless they’ve been processed with calcium salt or enriched with calcium.
Dark green leafy vegetables are typically good sources of calcium and usually contain some phosphorus, too. The standout example is boiled spinach, which contains 291mg of calcium and 101mg of phosphorus per cup. Kale, broccoli, Chinese cabbage and turnip greens are all high in calcium and contain moderate quantities of phosphorus.
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing;" Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2006
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Phosphorus