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Phosphorus is an essential mineral that, second to calcium, is the most plentiful mineral in the body.
What is Phosphorus?
Phosphorus acts as an essential structural component for cellular membranes, meaning the entire body relies on it to function properly. It also supports the body’s ability to get rid of waste and to repair cells and tissues.
You are probably familiar with synthetic phosphates used in products like cheese, baking ingredients, and even dish soaps. These are forms of phosphorus. Other forms of phosphorus are found naturally in foods, and these have health benefits. Phytic acid is a natural storage form of phosphorus, often found in bread and seeds. This form of phosphorus is not readily bioavailable because we don’t have the enzymes required to break it down during the digestive process.
The body stores 85% of its phosphorus in bones and teeth, and the other 15% is spread between blood and tissues.
Health Benefits of Phosphorus
- Supports structure of cell membranes
- Supports structure of nucleic acids
- Promotes normal cell signaling
- Promotes healthy nerve function
- Promotes normal bone mineralization
- Supports energy production
- Helps regulate acid-base homeostasis
- Supports healthy teeth
Food Sources of Phosphorus
Phosphorus is found in many foods, although plant-based sources like grains, legumes, and seeds may not provide highly bioavailable phosphorus due to antinutrients and the way that we digest phytic acid. Soaking or sprouting grains, legumes, and seeds can increase the bioavailability of nutrients.
Food sources of phosphorus include:
- Kidney beans
- Brown rice
Phosphorus is not a common deficiency and supplementation is rare unless there is an underlying condition or disorder that leads to insufficient levels. Even with low levels, true deficiency is rare unless someone is experiencing total starvation or has a rare genetic disorder that leads to renal elimination of phosphorus.
Conditions that could lead to insufficient levels of phosphorus include:
- Eating disorders
- Being a preterm infant
Excess phosphorus intake may lead to problems with the heart or bones, like cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Today’s Simple Step
While there are many dietary sources of phosphorus, dairy products, salmon, and scallops have the highest amounts of phosphorus. Phosphorus from animal products is the most bioavailable.
This Orange-Glazed Salmon with Roasted Vegetables is the perfect dish to get anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats alongside phosphorus. Not to mention, this filling, zesty meal is a perfect way to breathe fresh life into seafood recipes.