Phosphorus is an essential nutrient required for proper cell functioning, regulation of calcium, strong bones and teeth, and for making ATP (adenosine triphosphate) a molecule which provides energy to our cells.
A deficiency of phosphorus can lead to lowered appetite, anemia, muscle pain, improper bone formation (rickets), numbness, and a weakened immune system. Phosphorus is found in almost every food, and as such, deficiency is rare.
Conversely consuming too much phosphorus causes the body to send calcium from the bones to the blood in an attempt to restore balance. This transfer of calcium weakens bones and can cause calcification of internal organs, increasing risk of heart attack and other vascular diseases.
Some scientific research suggests that phosphorus is more easily absorbed from meat products, and you can only absorb half of the phosphorus contained in plant foods. The amount of phosphorus absorbed differs from person to person, and the plant sources of phosphorus are still listed here and recommended.
Foods high in phosphorus include fish, pork, tofu, milk, chicken, scallops, lentils, squash seeds, beef, and whole grains. The daily value (%DV) for phosphorus is 1250mg. (2)
Below is a list of high phosphorus foods by common serving size, use the complete nutrient ranking of phosphorus foods to sort by 100 gram or 200 calorie serving sizes.
People with chronic kidney disease looking to reduce phosphorus intake can also see the article on foods low in phosphorus.