Manganese Rich Foods & Recipes 

Manganese is an essential trace mineral that your body requires in small amounts.

This article will show how to get the manganese you need from food and meals you love to eat using the tools and charts we use in our Micros Masterclass.

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 Tableau version of this chart (on your computer), check out the food lists of popular foods below or download longer lists in our Optimising Nutrition Community here.

Manganese Rich Foods (Per Serving)

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.

The popular foods listed below will give you more manganese in the typical serving sizes we consume them in. 

  • mussels
  • whole wheat bread
  • brown rice
  • filberts
  • pecans
  • macadamia nuts
  • spinach
  • pineapple
  • hemp seeds
  • walnuts
  • lamb liver
  • quinoa
  • pumpkin or squash seeds
  • sweet potato
  • almond butter
  • brussels sprouts
  • almonds
  • potato  
  • peanut butter
  • chard

Manganese Rich Foods (Per Calorie)

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.  Foods highest in manganese per calorie are listed below.

  • spinach
  • mussels
  • endive
  • watercress
  • pineapple
  • coriander leaf
  • mustard greens
  • kale
  • chard
  • blackberries
  • hemp seeds
  • raspberries
  • arugula
  • strawberries
  • bok choy
  • zucchini
  • garlic
  • filberts
  • lettuce
  • whole wheat bread
  • leeks
  • brown rice

Manganese-Rich Recipes

The chart below shows our 1400+ NutriBooster recipes that we use in the Micros Masterclass plotted in terms of manganese vs protein %.  Recipes towards the right will help you boost your manganese with fewer calories.    

To dive into the detail, you can open the interactive Tableau version of this chart (on your computer).  Then, click on each recipe to learn more about it and view a picture of the recipe.  Some examples of our NutriBooster recipes that contain the most manganese are shown below. 

Why is Manganese Important?

  • 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 the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol.  It helps to activate enzymes that are important for these processes.
  • Brain function: Manganese is involved in the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that help to transmit signals in the brain.  It also plays a role in protecting 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 the production of 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.  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).

Conditions Contributing to Manganese Deficiency

You may need more manganese if you:

Satiety Response to Foods with More Manganese

Our satiety analysis shows that we have a moderate satiety response to foods that contain more manganese.  People who consume foods that contain more manganese per calorie consume 20% fewer calories. 

The median manganese intake of Optimisers is 2.9 mg per 2000 calories, with an 85th percentile intake of 6.3 mg per 2000 calories.  

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.

Optimal Manganese Intake

Based on our satiety analysis, we have set an Optimal Nutrient Intake of 5.5 mg/2000 calories for manganese. 

Once you start to get the hang of nutrient density, you could ‘level up’ by working to achieve these stretch targets to optimise your nutrition.  For more details, see:

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 Am Getting Enough Manganese? 

If you’re interested in determining if you’re getting just the right amount of manganese in your diet, you can check your nutrient profile using our Free 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge

After a week of tracking your current diet in Cronometer, Nutrient Optimiser will give you a prioritised list of foods and NutriBooster recipes that will help you plug your current nutritional gaps, including manganese. 

Nutrient Density Starter Pack

We’re eager to make the process of Nutritional Optimisation as simple as possible.  So to help you increase your intake of all the essential nutrients, including manganese, when you join our free Optimising Nutrition Community, you’ll get a starter pack that includes:

Nutrient Series



Fatty acids

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