Whole grains, tea, and vegetables are the main natural sources of manganese among US adults. However, there are so many other vegan foods high in manganese. Animal foods are low in manganese, though.
Health benefits of manganese
Manganese is an essential mineral. It’s crucial for our health, as manganese is a cofactor for many enzymes and plays an important role in their activities.
Moreover, manganese is involved in amino acid, cholesterol, glucose, and carbohydrate metabolism! Also, manganese is necessary for the proper formation of the bones and for a healthy reproductive system.[1,2,3]
Furthermore, adequate amounts of manganese boost the immune system and help the body fight oxidative stress.
On the contrary, manganese deficiency may cause impaired growth, fragile bones, obesity, and other metabolic disorders.
Additionally, pretty low doses of manganese of less than 1 mg a day may affect mood and even increase pain during the premenstrual phase of the estrous cycle!
Last, but not least, low levels of manganese seem to negatively affect blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Mineral imbalances are dangerous for health and for bone formation.
What’s the recommended daily intake?
The recommended daily intake of manganese is 2.3 mg for men and 1.8 mg for women. Teens need less manganese. Boys should get 2.2 mg and girls 1.6 mg of manganese a day. Children need about 1.2-1.9 mg of manganese a day, depending on age and sex.
Nowadays, the mean consumption of manganese is only 2 mg a day. But, a couple of decades ago, people used to get much more manganese. Manganese intake was up to 9 mg per day. 
As the best natural sources of manganese are plants, people who follow a plant-based diet consume much higher doses of manganese! The American Heart Association recommends consuming at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This can boost your daily intake of manganese.
Vegan foods high in manganese
Actually, plants are the richest foods in manganese. Seeds, nuts, spices, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are excellent natural sources of manganese!
Spices, such as cloves, saffron, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, chili, and pepper are particularly high in manganese. They could really boost your daily manganese intake!
Seeds and nuts are great vegan sources of manganese as well. Pine nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are particularly high in manganese.
|pepper, black||12.8||chocolate, |
|oregano, dried||5||kidney seeds||1|
|bread, whole wheat||2.5||pinto||0.45|
|sunflower seeds||2.1||tea, black||0.22|
Although there are many foods high in manganese, US adults get manganese mainly from grain products, tea, and vegetables. A cup of tea contains about 0.5 mg of manganese.
Moreover, we get small amounts of manganese from drinking water. Actually, the concentration of manganese in drinking water varies greatly depending on the location. It ranges between 1-100 mcg/L. But, the upper safe limit of manganese concentration in drinking water is only 50 mcg/L, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Animal foods high in manganese
Foods from animal sources aren’t good dietary sources of manganese. Only mussels, oysters and clams are high in manganese, containing 5.8 mg, 1 mg, and 0.9 mg of manganese per serving, respectively.
Can I get too much manganese from food?
The maximum safe intake of manganese for healthy people is 11 mg a day.
Manganese toxicity may occur after exposure to environmental pollution, or accidentally consuming high amounts from supplements.
The two most common reasons of manganese toxicity are:
- Drinking water from wells with high manganese concentrations
- working in poor conditions in certain industries, inhaling high amounts for years
But, consuming foods high in manganese regularly won’t cause manganese toxicity. We absorb only a small percentage (up to 5%) of dietary manganese. So, it’s safe to eat foods high in manganese regularly.