Not getting enough phosphorus can cause symptoms including fatigue, anxiety, fragile bones, numbness, irritability, loss of appetite, stiff joints and irregular breathing. Alcoholism, diabetes, celiac disease, Crohn's disease and certain types of medications can make this type of deficiency more likely. Potatoes, one of the most commonly eaten vegetables in the United States, are a good source of phosphorus and can help you meet your recommended phosphorus intake.
If you want strong bones, calcium isn't the only mineral you need to pay attention to. Phosphorus is also important for keeping your bones and teeth healthy as well as getting rid of waste products in your kidneys, forming DNA, repairing any damaged cells and keeping your muscles from getting really sore after a workout. Without phosphorus your nerves, muscles and heart wouldn't work properly.
Phosphorus in Potatoes
While potatoes aren't one of the foods highest in phosphorus, they still make a significant contribution toward your recommended phosphorus consumption for the day. A medium baked Russet potato provides you with 123 milligrams of phosphorus, which is about 18 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for adults of 700 milligrams per day. Red-skinned and white potatoes have similar phosphorus levels, but sweet potatoes have slightly lower phosphorus levels with 97 milligrams in a potato of the same size.
Increasing Phosphorus Intake
Serving your potatoes topped with chicken, beef, beans, yogurt or cheese will help you increase your phosphorus intake even further, since these foods are all high in phosphorus. Just keep in mind that your body doesn't absorb the phosphorus in beans as well as that found in animal products due to the way it is stored in the beans. Only about half of the phosphorus in beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds is available for absorption.
While some people may consider potatoes fattening, they are actually low in calories and quite nutritious, providing you with a number of essential vitamins and minerals, including potassium and vitamin C. What can make them fattening is frying them in oil to make french fries or topping them with delicious, but fattening, condiments like butter, cheese and sour cream. Baking or microwaving potatoes and topping them with salsa is a healthier option.
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Potatoes, Russet, Flesh and Skin, Baked
- North Dakota State University Extension: Potatoes
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Phosphorus
- Linus Pauling Institute: Phosphorus
- MedlinePlus: Phosphorus in Diet
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Sweet Potato, Cooked, Baked in Skin, Without Salt
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.