Phosphorus is an important mineral used as a material when building cell membrane and nucleic acids, among other roles.
In short, it primarily keeps your muscles and bones strong.
A phosphorus deficiency is not common, and you typically don’t need to pay any extra attention to getting enough. Even on a vegan diet, it’s not difficult to get.
I’ve put together a table of the top 30 phosphorus sources so you can see where you actually get it from your diet. Note that many cereals and grain products are fortified with nutrients including phosphorus.
But first, how much phosphorus should you eat?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of phosphorus is 700 mg for both male and female adults.
There’s no issue with getting more, as long as it’s not an extreme amount from supplements.
The Top Vegan Phosphorus Food Sources
Below is a table of the top 30 foods in terms of phosphorus per serving.
As you can see, you can reach your RDA with just a serving or two of many foods.
|Food||Serving||Energy (kcal)||Phosphorus (mg)|
|Rye grain||1 cup||571||561|
|Buckwheat groats||1 cup||567||523|
|Hemp seeds||3 tbsp||166||495|
|Brazil nut||0.5 cup||438||482|
|Sunflower seeds||0.5 cup||409||462|
|Sesame seeds||0.5 cup||413||453|
|Pine nuts||0.5 cup||454||388|
|Adzuki beans||1 cup||294||386|
|Wheat flour (whole-grain)||100 g||332||323|
|Pistachio nuts||0.5 cup||344||301|
|Navy beans||1 cup||255||262|
|Vital wheat gluten||100 g||370||260|
|Chia seeds||3 tbsp||146||258|
|Kidney beans||1 cup||225||251|
|Black beans||1 cup||227||241|
|White potato||1 large||255||229|
|Lima beans||1 cup||209||221|
|Swiss chard||10 leafs||91||221|
|Fava bean||1 cup||187||212|
|Mung bean||1 cup||212||200|
Legumes (beans and lentils mainly) are amazing for phosphorus.
There are several nuts also on the list.
But there’s also grains and vegetables as well. As I said, there’s a diverse set of foods that have significant amounts of phosphorus in them that make it hard to not get enough.
The Best Phosphorus Sources Per 100 Calories
If you’re counting calories, you’ll want to get as much phosphorus as you can without having to eat tons of calories to get it.
Here are the top 30 plant foods for phosphorus when we look at the amount per 100 calories.
Phosphorus (mg) per 100 calories
|Hemp seeds||3 tbsp||166||298|
|Bok choy||1 cup||9||289|
|Swiss chard||10 leafs||91||243|
|Lettuce (red leaf)||0.5 head||20||215|
|Mustard greens||1 cup||15||213|
|Water spinach||1 cup||11||200|
|Chia seeds||3 tbsp||146||177|
|Bamboo shoot||1 shoot||17||171|
|Napa cabbage||1 cup||13||162|
|Brussels sprouts||1 cup||56||155|
|Lotus root||1 root||85||135|
All of a sudden, leafy greens shoot up to the top of the list:
- Bok Choy
- Swiss chard
In addition, hemp seeds, squash, asparagus, and zucchini also rank well.
These are all foods that have a good amount of phosphorus in them, and very few calories. The downside is that you’ll have to eat multiple servings.
They’ll fill you up really well, which is perfect if you’re trying to lose weight, but could be inconvenient otherwise.
The Best of Both Worlds: Phosphorus Dense Foods
For everyday diets, the perfect source of phosphorus has a lot per serving, and also per 100 calories.
It’s easy to identify these with a simple bubble chart. The foods that are most dense in phosphorus will drift to the top-right corner. (click to enlarge)
We see that oats and rapini stand out on the two extremes, but in terms of getting phosphorus as efficiently as possible, hemp seeds are by far the best source. They have a good amount of phosphorus per serving, while also having a lot per 100 calories.
After hemp seeds, nothing stands out other than the cluster of beans around the center of the chart. They have almost the same amount of phosphorus per serving, but not as much per 100 calories.