A list of foods rich in manganese

Whole-grains, tea, and vegetables are the main dietary sources of manganese among US adults. But, there are so many more foods rich in manganese. Spices, legumes, seeds, and nuts for example!

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 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, lead to 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 dose?

The daily recommended dose of manganese is 2.3 mg and 1.8 mg for men and women, respectively.

Teens need less manganese. Boys should get 2.2 mg and girls 1.6 mg of manganese a day, respectively. Children need about 1.2-1.9 mg of manganese a day, depending on age and sex.

A couple of decades ago, people used to get much more manganese, though. Manganese intake was up to 9 mg a day. Nowadays, the mean consumption of manganese is only 2 mg a day.[4]

As the best sources of manganese are plants, people who follow a plant-based diet consume much higher doses of manganese!

In the standard American diet, people eat significantly fewer portions of fruits and vegetables a day, though.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This can boost your daily intake of manganese.[5]

Plant-based foods rich in manganese

Actually, plants are the richest foods in manganese. Seeds, nuts, spices, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are excellent dietary sources!

First, spices, such as cloves, saffron, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, chili, and pepper can really boost your daily manganese intake!

Moreover, seeds and nuts are great dietary sources of manganese. Pine nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are particularly rich in manganese.

Other common foods high in manganese are dark chocolate, peanut butter, and legumes!

cloves60peanut butter1.7
saffron28.4chili powder1.7
pepper, black12.8chocolate, 45-59%1.4
pine nuts8.8basil1.15
oregano, dried5kidney seeds1
pecans4.5garlic powder1
pumpkin seeds4.5pineapple0.93
rice2.8white beans0.53
flaxseeds2.5green pea0.52
sesame seeds2.5lentils0.5
bread, whole wheat2.5pinto0.45
sunflower seeds2.1tea, black0.22
almonds2tea, green0.18
pepper, cayenne2parsley0.16
chocolate, 70-85%1.95onion0.13
Common foods rich in manganese.

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.

Foods rich in manganese from animal sources

Foods from animal sources aren’t great 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 diet?

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.

Drinking water from wells with high manganese concentrations, or working in poor conditions in certain industries, inhaling high amounts of manganese for years, are the two most common reasons of manganese toxicity.

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.