Manganese Rich Foods and Recipes

Manganese is an essential trace mineral.  This means the body requires small amounts of manganese for normal bodily function. 

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 so many different 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 Rich Foods

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 that contain more manganese include:

Plant Foods

  • pineapple
  • spinach
  • hazelnuts
  • pecans
  • brown rice
  • turmeric
  • cinnamon
  • tea
  • black pepper
  • blackberries 
  • kale 
  • raspberries
  • broccoli 
  • garlic
  • grapes
  • zucchini
  • filberts (hazelnuts)
  • oatmeal
  • lettuce
  • cabbage
  • green beans 
  • sauerkraut
  • asparagus 
  • pumpkin seeds
  • beets 
  • asparagus 
  • celery 
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower

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.

Animal Foods

  • mussels
  • oysters
  • clams
  • shrimp
  • tuna
  • chicken breast
  • ground beef
  • milk
  • yogurt

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

Manganese Rich Recipes

Some of our most manganese-rich NutriBooster recipes include:

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:

Target Manganese Intake

Manganese is essential because we cannot make it.  However, we only need a tiny amount of it, so we don’t know much about what constitutes a minimum or optimal intake. 

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 the basis for minimal intake levels and levels that cause deficiency.

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 14% fewer calories. 

The median manganese intake of Optimisers is 3.0 mg per 2000 calories, with an 85th percentile intake of 5.7 mg per 2000 calories.  

Based on our satiety analysis, we have set a stretch target of 5.5 mg per day for men and 4.4 mg for women. 

Synergistic Nutrients

Manganese works synergistically with vitamins B1, C, K, biotin (B7), 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 nutrient-dense foods to ensure you get enough of other necessary vitamins and minerals.

Nutrient Profile of High Manganese Foods

The nutrient fingerprint chart below shows that it is easy to meet the minimum intake levels of manganese from a nutrient-dense diet.  Because manganese is found readily in plants, foods with more manganese tend to have more fibre.

How Can I Calculate My Manganese Intake? 

If you’re interested in checking if you’re getting enough dietary manganese, you can check your nutrient profile using our Free 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge Challenge

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

Level Up Your Nutrient Density

To help you level up your nutrient density, we’ve prepared a Nutritional Optimisation Starter Pack to ensure you are getting plenty of all the essential nutrients from the food you eat every day.    

The free starter pack includes:

  • Maximum Nutrient Density Food List
  • Sample Maximum Nutrient Density Recipe Book
  • Sample Maximum Nutrient Density Meal Plan.

To get started today, all you have to do is join our new Optimising Nutrition Group here

Once you join, you will find the Nutritional Optimisation starter pack in the discovery section here.

Micronutrients index



Essential fatty acids                      

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