Vegans, vegetarians, and people who follow a plant-based diet can get enough phosphorus from plant-based foods, such as seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
What does phosphorus do to the body?
Phosphorus is present in bones and teeth, and it’s a key component of DNA, RNA, and cell membrane structure.
Also, it’s essential for the energy production, as phosphorus is an important component of ATP.
ATP is the body’s key energy source. The main components of ATP are carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus.
In addition, phosphorus is good for many functions of the human body, such as activation of enzymes, maintenance of normal pH, and energy storage.
Moreover, the phosphorus content in the human body is up to 1.4% of fat-free mass. Bones and teeth are the main storage of phosphorus. They contain about the 85% of body phosphorus.
Most noteworthy, phosphorus and calcium are the two most vital minerals for strong bones and teeth. There are many plant-based sources of calcium, as well.
How much phosphorus do we need daily?
The recommended daily intake of phosphorus is only 700 mg for adults.
Only kids and teenagers need higher doses of phosphorus of 1250 mg a day.
We can easily consume these amounts following a plant-based diet.
Who is at risk for phosphorus deficiency?
Phosphorus deficiency is rare. Actually, there are many foods high in phosphorus.
Only people with severe health problems or genetic disorders may deal with phosphorus deficiency.
Foods from animal sources with phosphorus
Dairy, meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of phosphorus.
For instance, dried salmon (816 mg), egg yolk (390 mg), beef (230 mg), whole egg (198 mg), chicken (160 mg), mozzarella cheese (548 mg), Greek yogurt (137 mg), and milk (84 mg) are all high in phosphorus.
Furthermore, phosphorus from animal sources is more absorbable, as compared to plant-based foods.
List of vegan foods high in phosphorus
Certainly, we can consume more than enough phosphorus, following a plant-based diet. Nuts, legumes, vegetables, and grains are all great sources.
According to the USDA, the amount of phosphorus per 100g, among common foods, is:
- seeds: hemp seeds (1650 mg), pumpkin seeds (1233 mg), chia seeds (642 mg), flaxseeds (642 mg), sesame seeds (629 mg), sunflower seeds (629 mg).
- nuts: Brazil nuts (725 mg), pine nuts (575 mg), cashew nuts (490 mg), pistachio nuts (490 mg), almonds (457 mg), walnuts (346 mg), pecans (277 mg), macadamia nuts (188 mg).
- spices: poppy seeds (870 mg), mustard seeds (828 mg), cumin seeds (499 mg), coriander seeds (409 mg), celery seeds (547 mg), fennel seeds (487 mg), cayenne pepper (293 mg), dill seeds (277 mg), dried oregano (148 mg).
- legumes: soybeans (704 mg), lupins (440 mg), navy beans (407 mg), kidney beans (406 mg), adzuki beans (381 mg), black beans (352 mg), lima beans (370 mg), lentils (281 mg), green peas (108 mg), white beans (91 mg).
- whole grains: whole oats (410 mg), whole grain wheat flour (323 mg), whole grain corn flour (210 mg), brown rice (102 mg).
- vegetables: sun-dried tomatoes (356 mg), broccoli (66 mg), parsley (58 mg), kale (55 mg), asparagus (52 mg), potatoes (48 mg), cauliflower (44 mg), beetroots & beet greens (40 mg), peppers (32 mg), sweet potatoes (31).
- fruits: raisins (75 mg), avocado (52 mg), carrots (35 mg), kiwi (34 mg), apples (33 mg), bananas (22 mg), clementines (21 mg), lemons (16 mg), oranges (14 mg).
Keep in mind that we don’t absorb all the phosphorus of seeds and nuts. Phosphorus in seeds and nuts is in the form of phytic acid. That’s the storage form of phosphorus.
Therefore, vegans and people who follow a plant-based diet should benefit from consuming higher doses of phosphorus than the recommended ones!
Can I get too much phosphorus from food?
The upper safe dose of phosphorus is 3,000-4,000 mg. We shouldn’t exceed this maximum safe dose. Too much phosphorus may cause adverse effects.
People with chronic kidney disease should be extra careful about their daily phosphorus intake. As kidney doesn’t work efficiently, higher phosphorus intake may be a problem. The kidney can’t remove excess phosphorus as effectively.
Furthermore, high phosphorus intake might be a sign that you follow an unhealthy diet. You may need to eat more vegetables and fruits, while reducing the consumption of meat and dairy.
Always consult your physician before changing your diet.