You probably already know that calcium helps keep your bones strong and healthy. What you might not know is that phosphorus is almost equally important. Phosphorus not only keeps your bones in tip-top shape, it also plays a role in a slew of hormonal and enzymatic activities. Turkey bacon is one way to meet some of your phosphorus needs, but it isn’t your healthiest option.
Amount of Phosphorus
Two slices of cooked turkey bacon that weigh 16 grams, have 74 milligrams of phosphorus. This makes up a little more than 10 percent of your total daily needs. Each day you should aim to get 700 milligrams of phosphorus, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. This is one of the only nutrients for which the recommendation never changes depending on age. Even if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, your phosphorus needs are the same.
Turkey Bacon Concerns
Don’t rely too much on turkey bacon to get more phosphorus in your system – it’s loaded with sodium. Those two slices of perfectly crisp turkey bacon have a whopping 366 milligrams of sodium. This is nearly 25 percent of the total 1,500 milligrams of sodium you should limit yourself to in a day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. When you have a diet high in sodium, your body holds on to water. While this may not sound harmful, your heart has to work extra hard to get blood to your fluid-filled extremities. You’ll wind up with high blood pressure and possibly heart disease later on in life.
Better Phosphorus Foods
Pour yourself a glass of skim milk at breakfast. Eight ounces of ice-cold skim milk offer nearly 250 milligrams of phosphorus. If yogurt is your go-to morning meal, you’ll get 385 milligrams of the mineral from 8 ounces of plain nonfat yogurt. Nuts are full of phosphorus and make a healthy snack when you enjoy them in moderation. One ounce of almonds has almost 135 milligrams of phosphorus, while the same amount of peanuts contains more than 105 milligrams. Your favorite fish entrée is another way to get more phosphorus. Three ounces of broiled halibut or salmon each provide around 250 milligrams of phosphorus.
Keep it Light
Don’t feel guilty if you have to have a couple slices of turkey bacon on your lazy Sunday mornings. As long as you only have a slice or two and use healthy cooking methods, turkey bacon can be a part of your balanced diet. Cooking turkey bacon in the microwave on top of a couple paper towels crisps your favorite treat, while soaking up some of the extra fat. If you prefer to use a frying pan, nix that bottle of oil and use nonstick cooking spray instead. Two slices of turkey bacon already have nearly 4.5 grams of fat -- you don’t want to add any more to that amount.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.