We often associate bone and dental health to nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. And while calcium and vitamin D do play important roles in building strong bones and teeth, we might be forgetting about another crucial player: phosphorous.
Most of the body's phosphorous is found in the bones and teeth, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Not only does phosphorous help with the formation of bones and teeth, but the mineral also helps the body make energy, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
How Much Phosphorous Do You Need?
Adults need 700 milligrams of phosphorous per day, according to the NIH. Children and teenagers need 1,250 milligrams per day because their bones and teeth are still growing.
Below is a list of foods high in phosphorous that come from both animal and plant sources. Note that the FDA's Daily Value (DV) percentages are based on eating 1,250 grams of phosphorous per day.
1. Shrimp: 520.2 mg, 42% DV
A 6-ounce serving of cooked shrimp provides 42 percent of the DV for phosphorous.
2. Lean Pork Chops: 515.1 mg, 41% DV
Like all meats, different cuts of pork deliver different nutrition. Lean pork chops, for example, tend to be lower in saturated fat than ribs.
Diets high in saturated fat — specifically from red meat and processed meats — are linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund.
3. Firm Tofu: 478.8 mg, 38% DV
Soy-based tofu shouldn't be considered a food just for vegetarians. Adding more plant-based foods to all diets is a great way to get nutrients from a variety of food sources and cut your intake of red meat.
But because folks avoiding meat sometimes struggle to get adequate amounts of certain nutrients, tofu is a heavy hitter: It's a vegan food high in phosphorous — with 38 percent of the DV per 1 cup — as well as a solid source of plant-based protein, calcium, fiber and iron.
4. Tempeh: 441.6 mg, 35% DV
Another soy-based nutritional powerhouse is tempeh. A 1-cup serving provides 35 percent of the DV for phosphorous and 67 percent of the DV for protein.
Tempeh is a delicious plant-based protein that, like tofu, absorbs the flavor of whatever you're cooking.
5. Salmon: 435.2 mg, 35% DV
Americans don't eat enough fish. In fact, we only eat about 5 ounces of fish per week, according to a report from Sustainable Fisheries, and the American Heart Association recommends adults get two 3.5-ounce servings of fish a week (that's around 7 ounces total).
6. Chicken Breast: 409.7 mg, 33% DV
Chicken breast can be cooked six ways from Sunday, making it a favorite for lean protein, iron, vitamin B12 and phosphorous. A 6-ounce cooked serving contains 33 percent of the DV for phosphorous.
The white meat, like the breast, has less saturated fat than the dark meat from the thighs and wings. However, dark meat tends to be more flavorful. Try one (or all!) of these low-calorie chicken dishes.
7. Turkey Breast: 391 mg, 31% DV
If you're tired of chicken, turkey provides nearly identical nutrition — but it's slightly higher in iron and a bit lower in protein. Per 6-ounce cooked serving, turkey has 31 percent of the DV for phosphorous.
Like chicken, the white meat turkey is lower in saturated fat than its dark meat. There's no shortage of leftover turkey recipes, especially after Thanksgiving: Try these six tasty turkey recipes for any time of year.
8. Lentils: 356.4 mg, 29% DV
When it comes to touting a variety of good-for-you nutrients, lentils nearly always make the list. The legume is another vegan food high in phosphorous with 29 percent of the DV per 1-cup cooked. Lentils are also a good source of plant-based protein and iron.
Lentils come in a range of colors thanks to their antioxidants, which are tied to helping protect against diseases, including cancer and heart disease, according to an April 2017 review published in the Journal of Applied Biotechnology and Bioengineering.
Try them in these lentil recipes with more protein than chicken.
9. Yogurt: 352.8 mg, 28% DV
A 1-cup serving of low-fat yogurt provides 28 percent of the DV for phosphorous.
When choosing a yogurt, be sure to read the labels: Flavored yogurts tend to be high in added sugar, which should be kept to just 10 percent of total daily calories, according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Try the beloved dairy in these Greek yogurt dinner recipes.
10. Squash and Pumpkin Seeds: 350.2 mg, 28% DV
Small but mighty, squash and pumpkin seeds pack 28 percent of the DV for phosphorous, 14 percent of the DV for iron and 17 percent of the DV for protein per 1-ounce serving.
Seeds are also a good source of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, making them a filling snack.
11. Chickpeas: 275.5 mg, 22% DV
Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are a popular vegetarian food high in phosphorous, with 22 percent of the DV per cup cooked. Plus, that same serving contains nearly 15 grams of plant-based protein and 13 grams of fiber.
Try these protein-rich chickpea recipes for a quick and tasty meal.
12. Quinoa: 281.2 mg, 22% DV
13. Milk: 224.5 mg, 18% DV
A glass of milk, whether it's low-fat or whole milk, provides ample nutrition. Low-fat milk, of course, contains less fat, although recent research suggests the saturated fat in dairy might not be as bad as we once thought, according to a September 2018 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which found that certain fats found in dairy are actually linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
An 8-ounce serving of milk gives you 18 percent of the DV for phosphorous, as well as 8 grams of protein.
14. Oatmeal: 180.2 mg, 14% DV
Just 1 cooked cup has 14 percent of the DV for phosphorous, as well as good amounts of fiber, protein and iron.
Check out the foods high in phosphorus chart below for the top 10 picks.
The Top 10 Foods High in Phosphorous
6 oz. cooked
520.2 mg, 42% DV
Lean Pork Chops
6 oz. cooked
515.1 mg, 41% DV
478.8 mg, 38% DV
441.6 mg, 35% DV
6 oz. cooked
435.2 mg, 35% DV
6 oz. cooked
409.7 mg, 33% DV
6 oz. cooked
391 mg, 31% DV
1 cup cooked
356.4 mg, 29% DV
352.8 mg, 28% DV
Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
350.2 mg, 28% DV
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Phosphorous in Diet"
- National Institutes of Health: "Phosphorous"
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "Daily Value on the New Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels"
- World Cancer Research Fund: "Limit Red and Processed Meat"
- Sustainable Fisheries: "Seafood Consumption Statistics in the U.S. (pre-pandemic)"
- American Heart Association: "Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids"
- Journal of Applied Biotechnology and Bioengineering: "Role of Antioxidants in Prevention of Diseases"
- 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Serial Measures of Circulating Biomarkers of Dairy Fat and Total and Cause-specific Mortality in Older Adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study"
- National Institutes of Health: "Selenium"
- Circulation Research: "Abstract 138: The Use of β-1.3/1.6-D-Glucan as Complementary Therapy for Cardiovascular Diseases"