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Why Is Phosphorous So Important In The Diet?

phosphorus in nuts

Phosphorus is a mineral that has a multitude of important functions in the body — not least of all the impact it has on bone health! Today we are going to look at this mineral in more depth to understand the importance of it.

 

Functions Of Phosphorus

 

Phosphorus helps the body to filter waste through the system, protecting the health of kidneys. This essential mineral also has a hand in helping the body to repair tissue and cells, which is a function that the body is working to maintain at all times.

 

Movement of the muscles is also aided by an optimum presence of phosphorus, and this mineral will help to ensure that muscle pain is minimised after exercise. Additionally, phosphorus can help your body to better utilise the B vitamins you get from your food, as well as vitamin D. It can also help to better use certain minerals, including zinc, magnesium, and iodine.

 

This mineral has a important part to play in maintaining the strength and health of the teeth and bones, and we're going to touch more on this later in the article!

 

How Much Phosphorus?

 

With many different roles to fulfil in the body, it is important to get an adequate amount through dietary sources. However, this isn't generally considered to be difficult on a varied and balanced healthy diet. In fact, it is more likely that you will have more phosphorus in your body than you actually need. 

 

If you have an excessive amount of this mineral in your body then you may put yourself at risk of certain health conditions. This isn't something that is easy to do with a normal diet though, and is considered by medical professionals to be quite a rare problem. Diarrhea can be caused by toxic levels of phosphorus in the body, and this may also lead to a hardening of the internal organs. 

 

People who have kidney disease may find that their phosphorus levels become higher with greater ease than people who do not have this health condition. Additionally, a lack of calcium in the body can make it easier for phosphorus to build up over time. 

 

healthy people nutrition

 

Diabetes and a number of other health conditions — as well as the presence of certain medications in the body — can impact how well phosphorus levels are maintained in the body. 

 

The amount of this mineral that you will need will depend on your age. Children under the age of six months old will only require around 100mg a day. Children between the ages of seven months and one year will need around 275mg each day. Children between one and three years old should aim to consume 460mg a day, and those aged between four and eight years old should get 500mg. Those in the nine to 18 years old bracket will require 1,250mg a day, and everybody over the age of 19 years old should aim for 700mg. 

 

Phosphorus Deficiency

 

If you are not consuming as much of this mineral as you should — which we have established should not be difficult with a healthy diet — then you may experience the issues of deficiency. Deficiency symptoms can include pain in the joints, low energy levels, fatigue, and even heart disease. 

 

Bone Health

 

This mineral is required in order to keep the bones strong. It works with calcium to build healthy bones, and so it is important to have an ample amount of both of these minerals in the body.

 

healthy bones good nutrition

 

Both phosphorus deficiency and excess phosphorus in the body can cause problems when it comes to the health of the bones.

 

Dietary Sources Of Phosphorus

 

The exciting thing about this mineral is that it is in most foods! 

 

Foods that are high in protein are also usually abundant sources of phosphorus. That means that if you already pay attention to getting enough protein in your diet then you don't have anything additional to worry about when it comes to reaching your recommended daily allowance of this mineral. Similarly, many of the foods that are high in calcium are also high in this mineral. 

 

Some of the very best dietary sources of phosphorus are:

 

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Dairy milk
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Dried fruit

 

It should be noted that humans are actually unable to absorb this mineral from whole grain foods, although they should still be included in the diet regularly for all of the other amazing health benefits they provide. 

 

Optimum Nutrition

 

If you are concerned about your diet and nutrition then be sure to reach out to your healthcare professional for a discussion!

 

healthy eating optimum nutrition

 

Remember, preventing ill-health is always better than working to resolve a health condition, and when it comes to nutrition you have a lot of control!

 

References

 

1. https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/70/6/311/1846932