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Phosphorus helps the body in the production of ATP, a molecule that the body uses to store energy. All our body cells contain Phosphorus, although 85 per cent of it is found in bones and teeth. It plays a vital role in managing the manner in which the body uses carbohydrates and fats. It is also essential for protein synthesis, which in turn helps in growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues.
Phosphorus, together with calcium, provides structure and strength to our body. It is necessary for various biochemical processes happening in our body, including producing energy and pH regulation. It works with the B Vitamins and helps with kidney functioning, muscle contractions, nerve signalling and in maintaining a normal heartbeat.
Other Benefits Of Phosphorus For The Body:
Apart from the aforesaid functions, phosphorus benefits our body in the following ways:
• It helps in digestion of niacin and riboflavin, the derivatives of vitamins that help the body in repairing oxidative damage.
• It keeps the kidneys healthy by promoting urination and toxin elimination.
• It is essential to prevent muscle soreness and fatigue, inflammation of joints and to lower numbness and weakness.
• It helps in keeping arthritis and osteoporosis at bay by strengthening your bones and reducing inflammation.
• Facilitates cell repair and is necessary for optimal functioning of the brain.
• It regulates reproductive hormones effectively and eliminates any dysfunctions in men and women.
• It helps with weight loss by increasing body metabolism through the quicker breakdown of carbohydrates and fats.
Foods Rich In Phosphorus:
Most of the phosphorus that our body needs is obtained through our daily diet. In fact, often, there are cases where phosphorus is excess in the body than being too little. However, certain health conditions such as diabetes, alcoholism, and certain medications, may cause a dip in phosphorus levels in your body.
When phosphorus levels are too high or too low they can lead to medical complications such as joint pain, fatigue or heart diseases. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain the right phosphorus levels in the body. As phosphorus is obtained through food, let us take a look at the type of foods that are rich in phosphorus, so that you may include them in your diet.
Protein And Calcium Rich Foods:
When your diet contains plenty of protein and calcium, you are likely to have sufficient phosphorus in your body, as foods that are high in calcium are also rich sources of phosphorus. These include:
• Milk and dairy products
• Nuts and seeds
Non-Protein Food Sources:
Some non-protein food sources, such as whole grains, also contain phosphorus. Whole grain versions of bread and cereal contain more phosphorus than those made of white flour. But, humans cannot absorb phosphorus in whole grain foods.
• Whole grains
• Dried fruit
• Carbonated beverages also contain phosphorus in the form of phosphoric acid
Other excellent sources of phosphorus include canned salmon, pork, cottage cheese, yogurt, and sirloin steak.
When cooking some foods, phosphorus may be lost in the process, even when cooked in careful conditions. To retain phosphorus, use only minimal quantities of water and cook for the shortest time possible. Roast or broil poultry, lamb and pork. Beef retains phosphorus irrespective of the cooking method.
Take a look at some good food sources of phosphorus:
A cup of non-fat yogurt - 385 mg
1 cup skimmed milk - 247 mg
3 oz (85 g) of cooked salmon - 252 mg
3 oz (85 g) of cooked beef - 173 mg
1 large cooked egg - 104 mg
1 slice whole wheat bread - 57 mg
Recommended Intake Of Phosphorus:
The quantity of phosphorus that you should include in your diet is dependent on your age. While adults need less phosphorus, children in the age group 9 to 18 years may need more. Children below the age of 8 years may need lesser quantity than the children of 9 to 18 age group.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, here is the daily intake of phosphorus that you should aim to meet:
- Infants (0 to 6 months) - 100 mg
- Infants (7 to 12 months) - 275 mg
- Children (1 to 3 years) - 460 mg
- Children (4 to 8 years) - 500 mg
- Children (9 to 18 years) - 1250 mg
- Adults (over 19 years) - 700 mg
What Happens When You Consume Excess Phosphorus?
As we generally get the necessary amount of phosphorus through the foods we eat, often, the need to take Phosphorus as a supplement does not arise. But, what happens when you have more than the required quantity of Phosphorus?
When you eat more than the required quantity of Phosphorus and not enough calcium, it may lead to an excess of phosphorus in the body. At times, kidney diseases may also lead to excess phosphorus in the body.
Too much of phosphate can get toxic. When the mineral is in excess in your body, it could lead to diarrhoea, hardening of organs and soft tissue.
High levels of Phosphorus may also affect your body's ability to use other minerals effectively, such as calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. Phosphorus may combine with calcium and lead to mineral deposits being formed in your muscles.
Although it is rare to have excess phosphorus in the blood, generally, people with kidney problems, and those having problems in regulating their calcium are seen to have excess phosphorus in their bodies.