Top Manganese Foods for Optimal Health and Nutrition

Manganese foods play a vital role in maintaining overall health and wellness.

As an essential mineral, manganese is crucial for various bodily functions, including bone development, metabolism, and antioxidant protection.

In this article, we will explore a diverse range of manganese-rich foods that can help you meet your daily nutritional needs.

From leafy greens to nuts and seeds, incorporating these nutrient-packed options into your diet can boost your health and ensure you get the benefits of this essential mineral.

Foods High in Manganese (Per Serving)

Understanding manganese food sources can help you incorporate this vital nutrient into your diet.

Shellfish like mussels, clams, and oysters are arguably the best sources of bioavailable manganese.  No other animal source compares.  For this reason, these foods should be prioritised and included regularly in a carnivorous diet.

If you find yourself falling short of the recommended manganese intake, it’s time to focus on high-manganese foods that pack in more manganese per serving, like:

  • mussels
  • oatmeal (steel cut)
  • buckwheat groats
  • pasta
  • hazelnuts
  • natto
  • whole wheat bread
  • brown rice
  • bananas
  • pili nuts
  • pecans
  • macadamia nuts

To help you get started, the infographic below shows the manganese provided by popular foods in the average serving sizes consumed by our Optimisers.  

high manganese foods

Once you’re ready to revitalise your diet with a wider variety of high-manganese foods, download our printable list of foods with more manganese per serving here.

Manganese Rich Foods (Per Calorie)

What foods are manganese rich? Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of manganese.  Plant foods also include other synergistic nutrients that help to support manganese’s role in the human body.

Manganese is found readily in plant foods like fruits and vegetables.  For this reason, it is not considered a nutrient of concern for someone following a plant-based diet. 

Once you know you’re getting the minimum amount of manganese your body needs, you can zero in on foods that deliver more manganese per calorie to increase your satiety and nutrient density, like:

  • spinach
  • mussels
  • kale
  • blackberries
  • hemp seeds
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • zucchini
  • oatmeal
  • lettuce
  • pasta
  • whole wheat bread

The infographic below shows popular foods that provide more manganese per calorie.

manganese rich foods

For more variety, check out our printable list of manganese-rich foods per calorie.

Manganese Food Chart

The chart below shows a range of popular foods in terms of manganese (per calorie) vs. manganese (per serve).  Foods towards the right will provide more manganese per calorie, while the foods towards the top will provide more manganese in the serving sizes we typically eat them. 

For more detail, you can dive into the interactive version of this chart.

How Much Manganese Do You Need?

Our satiety analysis reveals that your body craves at least 2.3 mg of manganese per 2000 calories.  However, achieving the Optimal Nutrient Intake of 8.0 mg per 2000 calories aligns with a modest 16% reduction in energy intake.   

satiety response to manganese food sources

Recipes Featuring Manganese Foods

Elevate your culinary game with our chart packed with manganese food sources, showcasing over 1750 NutriBooster recipes used in our Micros Masterclass.  We’ve plotted these recipes based on manganese content versus protein percentage.  The further right you go, the more manganese you can enjoy with fewer calories.

Manganese rich recipes.

Dive into the details with our interactive Tableau chart on your computer.  Click on each recipe to uncover its magic and even feast your eyes on mouthwatering pictures!

Health Benefits of Manganese Foods

  • Supports bone health: Manganese is important for developing and maintaining healthy bones.  It helps activate enzymes involved in bone formation and produces collagen, a protein that gives bones strength and flexibility.
  • Metabolism: Manganese is involved in metabolising carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol.  It helps to activate enzymes that are important for these processes.
  • Brain function: Manganese is involved in producing neurotransmitters, chemicals that help transmit signals in the brain. It also protects the brain against oxidative stress.
  • Acting as an antioxidant: Manganese is involved in the production of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant enzyme that helps to protect cells from oxidative damage.
  • Supporting wound healing: Manganese is involved in producing collagen, which is important for wound healing.  It also helps to activate enzymes involved in the formation of blood clots, which can help to stop bleeding from wounds.

What Are the Roles of Manganese in the Body?

  • Manganese works alongside calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper to synthesise and strengthen bones.
  • The body requires manganese to metabolise carbohydrates, cholesterol, and amino acids.
  • Studies have shown that manganese plays a role in wound healing and collagen production.
  • We need manganese for the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system.
  • Manganese is a key precursor for many enzymes that help to regulate human metabolism.
  • Manganese works with zinc, iron, and copper to create antioxidants that protect the body from damaging substances.
  • Along with glucosamine and chondroitin, manganese helps to control inflammation.
  • Manganese helps regulate blood sugar.
  • The reproductive system requires manganese to regulate hormones.
  • Because of its role as an antioxidant, manganese improves brain function and protects against substances like heavy metals.
  • The thyroid requires manganese for adequate function and production of thyroid hormones.

Despite its role in many bodily processes and systems, manganese is a mineral we require only in small (trace) amounts.  Hence, consuming excess manganese from isolated supplements for long periods or coming into contact with industrial forms of manganese could lead to toxicity.

Manganese Deficiency

Although manganese deficiency is rare, it is possible if someone has poor lifestyle habits and consumes a nutrient-poor diet with limited manganese food sources.  Symptoms of manganese deficiency include:

  • impaired bone growth,
  • bone and joint abnormalities,
  • stunted growth,
  • poor fertility,
  • abnormal glucose tolerance,
  • poor glucose tolerance,
  • skin rashes,
  • hair depigmentation,
  • decreased serum cholesterol,
  • changes in mood, and (or)
  • increased premenstrual symptoms (women).

Limited data on deficiencies relating to a lack of manganese exist.  As a result, the Adequate Intake has been set at 5.5 mg per day for men and 5 mg per day for women based on the average intake in healthy populations. 

People following a carnivorous diet with minimal plant products tend to fall short of the Adequate Intake levels for manganese.  However, this may not be a concern given the lack of data on minimal intake levels and levels that cause deficiency.

Conditions Contributing to Manganese Deficiency

You may need more manganese if you:

Synergistic Nutrients

Manganese works synergistically with vitamins B1, C, K, biotin, choline, copper, iron, zinc and glucosamine.  This means manganese requires all these nutrients to do its job.  

For this reason, we recommend getting manganese from consuming nutrient-dense foods to ensure you’re getting enough of other necessary vitamins and minerals.

How Can I Calculate if I’m Getting Enough Manganese?

Curious about your iron intake?  Take our Free 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge and discover if you’re hitting the manganese sweet spot in your diet.

After just one week of tracking your daily meals with Cronometer, Nutrient Optimiser will unveil a personalised roadmap, your guide to a healthier, more nutrient-rich lifestyle. 

You’ll receive a curated list of foods and tantalising NutriBooster recipes that not only fill your manganese gaps but also ensure you’re not missing out on critical nutrients.

Ready to unlock your nutrient potential?  Join the challenge and embark on a journey towards a brighter, healthier you!

Nutrient Density Starter Pack

Ready to supercharge your nutrition?  Get our Nutrient Density Starter Pack – your all-access pass to a healthier, more vibrant you!

In our quest to make Nutritional Optimization a breeze, we’re thrilled to offer you this treasure trove of tools and resources when you join our vibrant Optimising Nutrition Community:

  • Food Lists: Discover our carefully crafted lists optimised for each essential nutrient, tailored to your goals, preferences, and unique conditions.
  • The Healthiest Meal Plan in the World: Peek into a week of mouthwatering, nutrient-dense meals that’ll leave you satisfied and energised.
  • Recipes: Download delectable samples from our NutriBooster recipe books, designed to elevate your nutrition while tantalising your taste buds.
  • 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge: Unearth your priority nutrients and pinpoint the foods and meals that pack a nutrient punch so you can kickstart your journey to better health.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to transform your nutrition effortlessly.  Join our community and unlock your path to a healthier, more vibrant you!

Nutrient Series



Fatty acids