Skip to main content

10 Foods High in Phosphorus for Healthy Bones and Teeth

We all want to ensure our bodies have the nutrients they need to function optimally and prevent disease. Although few people have the mental bandwidth to worry about each and every micronutrient, it’s a good idea to take an occasional audit of your typical diet to make sure you’re hitting the mark on key vitamins and minerals.

Phosphorus is an essential mineral used to build healthy bones and teeth, generate ATP (cellular energy), and form new cell membranes, proteins, and RNA. Although phosphorus is present in many foods, endurance athletes and people taking certain medications, such as antacids, corticosteroids, and ACE inhibitors are at a higher risk of phosphorus deficiency.

A variety of seafood including prawns, octopus, and fish displayed on ice

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of phosphorus for most adults is 700 mg, but those with kidney disease are prone to phosphorus toxicity and should consume less. Below, we share the foods high in phosphorus to help you ensure your diet is up to snuff.

Fatty Fish

A slice of seared tuna with garnish of chives held in chopsticks.

Fatty fish, such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel, is one of the best dietary sources of phosphorus. A six-ounce fillet of yellowfin tuna or salmon, for example, provides 566mg of phosphorus, or 81% of the RDA. Cuttlefish, carp, sardines, haddock, and crayfish are also high in phosphorus.

If you choose fatty fish over lean fillets, you’ll also get heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation. Fatty fish also contains minerals like selenium, magnesium, and calcium.

Low-Fat Dairy

Glass of milk being poured.

Low-fat dairy products are high in phosphorus, along with nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, making them superfoods when it comes to bone health. An 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk has 225mg of phosphorus or about 33% of the daily value. A 1.5-ounce portion of part-skim mozzarella cheese provides about 197mg of phosphorus. Dairy may also help you have restful sleep, as it is high in magnesium, tryptophan, and melatonin.

Organ Meats

Slices of calf liver on a bed of bokchoi with a green sauce dolloped on top.

Organ meats, such as kidneys and liver, aren’t particularly popular, but they are nutrient-dense. For example, chicken liver contains 12.9mg of iron per 100 grams and a 3-ounce portion of beef liver has just over 5mg of iron. Organ meat is also rich in vitamin D, an important steroid hormone necessary for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Chicken liver also contains over 50% of the daily value of phosphorus, among other essential nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin B12.


A whole roasted chicken in a cast iron pan with a parsley garnish.
Anshu A/Unsplash

Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is rich in phosphorus among other minerals. One cup of either roasted chicken or turkey contains approximately 300mg of phosphorus, which is more than 40% of the recommended daily intake. When comparing light meat to dark meat, light meat is higher in minerals such as phosphorus, while dark meat contains more iron. The preparation method also affects the phosphorus content. For example, roasting and baking chicken or turkey will preserve more phosphorus than boiling the meat.

Lean Pork

A grilled pork chop with potatoes and broccolini, topped with an apple compote.

Pork is one of the foods highest in phosphorus, with a 6-ounce lean pork chop providing about 515mg, or nearly 80% of the recommended daily value. Pork ribs, pork tenderloin, and cured ham are also packed with phosphorus, though the concentration is somewhat less.

Pork chops are also an excellent source of minerals such as selenium, zinc, and magnesium, and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins D and K.

Tofu, Tempeh, and Other Forms of Soy

Block of tofu in a bowl with broth and garnishes.

Tofu and other forms of soy, such as edamame, tempeh, and even soy milk, are good dietary sources of phosphorus for vegans and vegetarians. Soy is a protein-packed legume and a versatile ingredient in dishes ranging from savory stir-fries to sweet desserts.

A cup of firm tofu contains about 480mg of phosphorus, or approximately 75% of the daily value for adults. Tempeh, a fermented soy product, contains about 450mg per cup and is also an excellent source of gut-friendly probiotics, which support a healthy gut microbiome. Where possible, choose organic, minimally-processed forms of soy like tempeh and tofu over prepared vegan meats such as vegan “chicken” nuggets and soy hot dogs.


Tray of fish and seafood on ice.

In addition to fish, several types of seafood are among the foods highest in phosphorus. For example, there is approximately 360mg of phosphorus in just three ounces of scallops, which is a little more than half the daily value. Clams, shrimp, oysters, crab, and crayfish are also packed with this essential nutrient. Seafood is also a good source of protein, zinc, calcium, iron, selenium, and vitamins A, B, and D.


White bean soup.

While soy takes the cake when it comes to the legume richest in phosphorus, the entire legume family can fortify your diet with phosphorus. One cup of cooked lentils, for example, contain 356mg of phosphorus, or just over half of the daily value. They are also packed with iron, fiber, and phytonutrients.

White beans, northern beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, and even green peas are also excellent dietary sources of phosphorus. One cup of canned kidney beans has 230 mg, while green peas have about 180mg per cup.

Pumpkin Seeds and Squash Seeds

Two glass jars of pumpkin seeds filled to overflowing in front of three whole pumpkins.

We tend to think of seeds as being too small to add much nutritional value either way, but the truth is that seeds are some of the most nutrient-dense foods available to us, so they more than deserve their “superfood” accolade. For example, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds are packed with healthy omega-3 fats, vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, iron, biotin, and zinc.

A one-ounce handful of squash or pumpkin seeds also contains 350mg of phosphorus, giving you half of your daily needs. Hemp seeds, chia seeds, and Brazil nuts are also particularly rich sources of this micronutrient. In fact, one ounce of hemp seeds has about 65% of the daily value of phosphorus. Hemp is also rich in fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Easy ways to add nutritious seeds to your diet include sprinkling them on salads, yogurt, soups, or oatmeal, tossing a handful in smoothies, or making trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. You can also roast them, sprinkle them with sea salt, cumin, or curry powder and eat them as a snack.

Whole Grains

Quinoa with greens and chickpeas.
Sonny Mauricio/Unsplash

Certain whole grains are also high in phosphorus, so if you follow a plant-based diet and consume few if any animal products, consider adding foods like quinoa, brown rice, and oatmeal to your diet. Quinoa, which is technically a seed, is rich in numerous vitamins and minerals, and also is a complete source of protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 280mg of phosphorus, fulfilling 40% of your daily needs. Whole grains are also an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, and fiber.

If you are sensitive to gluten, stay away from wheat, rye, and barley, and focus on getting whole grains like brown rice, oats, teff, buckwheat, and amaranth.

Editors' Recommendations

Amber Sayer
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Amber Sayer is a fitness, nutrition, and wellness writer and editor, and was previously a Fitness Editor at Byrdie. She…
8 incredible ways you can benefit from cinnamon
Cinnamon doesn't just add flavor to meals — here's why it's great for you, too
Ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks.

Unfortunately, the foods that are really good for you are not often considered the most delicious. On the other hand, the foods that we consider to be the tastiest are often loaded with sugar and fat. While very few people would argue against the fact that broccoli has a preferable nutritional profile compared to Oreo cookies, there are still foods out there that taste great and provide many perks. There are numerous benefits of cinnamon, for example.
Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious foods that are packed with health benefits, including spices and seasonings like garlic, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. We often think of cinnamon as simply a flavorful accent to sweets like apple pie, spice cookies, and oatmeal, but cinnamon does more than just bring a scrumptious taste and aroma to your food. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of cinnamon.

What is cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a culinary spice made from the inner bark of cinnamon trees. After the cinnamon trees are cut down, the inner bark is harvested by stripping off the outer bark. The inner bark is then dried. As it dries, the bark curls into “cinnamon sticks,” which are rolls of the inner bark.
Cinnamon sticks are used to flavor things like tea and mulled cider and then are removed before eating. Ground cinnamon is made by crushing and grinding the cinnamon sticks.
There are two primary types of cinnamon: Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon. Most cinnamon on grocery store shelves is Cassia, but Ceylon is known as true cinnamon, and it has a lighter and more mild taste but far more health and medicinal benefits. In fact, high doses of Cassia cinnamon can actually be toxic because it contains coumarin. If you have a bleeding disorder, you should consult your physician before consuming cinnamon in excess.
Moreover, to take advantage of the benefits of cinnamon, use Ceylon cinnamon.

Read more
Everything you ever wanted to know about the BRAT Diet
The BRAT Diet: All of your questions about this popular dietary remedy, answered
Toast in a bread rack.

Most of us have memories of at least one time in our childhoods we had the stomach bug. You might remember how dreadful you felt, and that even going to school would have been more fun than watching your favorite cartoons or TV shows while sick on the couch.
When you finally started regaining your ability to hold down some food, your mom, dad, or caretaker probably tried to get you to eat a few bites of plain toast, some white rice, or something else very bland and easy to digest.
The BRAT diet is all about easing stomach distress with easy-to-digest foods. Following the BRAT diet when you have a stomach flu, diarrhea, or nausea can be a helpful way to keep your strength up without exacerbating your GI symptoms.
While we hope you aren’t feeling queasy, if you find yourself needing a rescue remedy for nausea and loose stools, keep reading for our guide to the BRAT diet.

What is the BRAT Diet?

Read more
Try these 10 foods high in vitamin D for healthy bones
Thinking about vitamin D levels and bone health? These foods will help you in those departments
Two fried eggs and salmon served on a blue oval plate.

Remember all those glasses of milk you chugged as a growing person, convinced they would keep your bones strong? Well, there's truth to that, but vitamin D plays a major role too. On top of keeping your skeleton in good working order, it creates key hormones that help out with keeping inflammation in check and your immune system thriving.
Our bodies make vitamin D, especially when we're hanging out in the sun (Hawaii, anyone?). For us mainlanders stuck in the throes of late fall and early winter, funding sunshine can be tough this time of year. Folks everywhere from Portland to New York City can go weeks without seeing the big glowing star in the sky. Fear not, there are other ways to keep your vitamin D levels where they ought to be.

Speaking of upping your intake, the current recommended daily value of vitamin D for most adults is 800 IU or 20μg. That said, your needs may be higher or lower, particularly if you don’t get much direct sun exposure. The tricky part is that very few foods are naturally high in vitamin D, so if you're looking to boost your levels significantly you may want to consider a vitamin D supplement or light therapy. That said, the foods highest in vitamin D listed below are nutritious additions to your diet overall, and can help ensure you're getting adequate amounts of vitamin D throughout the day.

Read more