Food Sources High In Manganese

  • Linda NkrumahBiological Sciences with International Year, University of Birmingham, UK

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Are you aware of the incredible benefits of manganese-rich foods? From boosting bone health to supporting brain function, this essential mineral plays a vital role in our overall well-being.

In this blog article, we will explore the top food sources high in manganese that you can easily incorporate into your diet.

So, if you're looking to enhance your health and add a touch of excitement to your plate, keep reading to discover the best 6 manganese-rich foods.

Key takeaways:

  • Manganese is an essential trace mineral that is important for bone health, antioxidant defence, and metabolism
  • The recommended adequate intakes (AI) for manganese vary depending on age and gender
  • Manganese deficiency is rare, but it can cause symptoms such as impaired growth and development, skeletal abnormalities, and impaired glucose metabolism
  • The best foods high in manganese include dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, whole grains, legumes, seafood, and fruits
  • To retain maximum manganese levels in food, it is important to cook using steaming or minimal water and avoid overcooking

What is manganese (dietary)?

Manganese1 is an essential trace mineral that is necessary for metabolism, bone health, and antioxidant defence in the body. Since our body cannot produce manganese on its own, it is important to learn how to obtain it through a well-balanced diet or medically supervised supplementation.

Before we delve into that, it's worth exploring more about the numerous benefits of dietary manganese first.

What are the health benefits of manganese?

Here are four health benefits of manganese that are backed by scientific research:

Bone health

Manganese contributes to the formation and maintenance of healthy bones.2 It plays a critical role in the production of collagen, a protein that helps build bones and connective tissues. Studies have shown that manganese deficiency may cause impaired bone growth and skeletal abnormalities.

Antioxidant protection

Manganese acts as an antioxidant in the body, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals and protect against oxidative stress.3,4 So, it's important to make sure you're getting enough manganese in your diet to support your body's natural defence system.

Metabolism support

Manganese is involved in various metabolic processes, including the breakdown of carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol.5 It helps facilitate energy production and supports the proper functioning of enzymes involved in metabolism.

Blood sugar regulation

Research suggests that manganese may play a role in regulating blood sugar levels. Studies have found that adequate manganese intake can improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, potentially reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.6

Well, that's why this mineral is important. However, do you know if you're getting enough of it?

Are you getting the right amount of manganese in your diet?

Manganese deficiency is a condition that occurs when there is an inadequate amount of manganese in the body. While this is rare, it is still important to be aware of the signs and symptoms.

These may include:

  • Impaired growth and development in children
  • Skeletal abnormalities
  • Reduced fertility
  • Impaired glucose metabolism
  • Altered lipid metabolism
  • Decreased antioxidant activity

The recommended adequate intakes (AI) for manganese vary depending on age and gender. It includes:

  • Adult people assigned males at birth (19-50 years): 2.3 mg per day
  • Adult people assigned females at birth (19-50 years): 1.8 mg per day

How is manganese deficiency diagnosed?

One common diagnostic approach is through a thorough medical history and physical examination. Your healthcare provider will ask about symptoms, dietary habits, and any relevant medical conditions or medications that could contribute to manganese deficiency.

Blood tests are also often used to measure manganese levels in the body. These tests can help determine if there is a deficiency or excess of manganese present. Additionally, other blood markers may be analyzed to assess overall nutritional status and rule out other potential causes of symptoms.

If you have concerns about mineral deficiencies, at Klarity we offer a convenient solution. We provide health checks and a variety of blood tests that can be easily conducted in the comfort of your own home. To find out more, please visit our website.

Remember, if you suspect a manganese deficiency or have concerns about your nutrient intake, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can provide personalised advice based on your specific needs.

What are the best foods high in manganese?

Dark leafy greens

Top manganese-rich vegetables content (Milligrams(mg) per serving):

  • Spinach (boiled, 1 cup) - 1,6
  • Kale (raw, 1 cup) - 1
  • Lettuce (romaine, raw, shredded, 1 cup) - 0.1

How to include more vegetables in your diet? Add spinach, kale, or lettuce to salads, smoothies, wraps, or stir-fries for a nutrient-packed diet.

Nuts and seeds: nutrient-dense snacks with high manganese content

Top manganese-rich nuts and seeds content (Milligrams(mg) per serving):

  • Hazelnuts (dry roasted, 1 ounce) - 1.6
  • Sesame seeds (dried, 6 tablespoons) - 1.2
  • Pecans (dry roasted, 1 ounce) - 1.1

How to include more nuts and seeds in your diet? Sprinkle your nuts and seeds on salads, blend them into smoothies, or enjoy them as a snack for a healthy dose of essential fats and protein.

Whole grains

Top manganese-rich whole grains content (Milligrams(mg) per serving):

  • Brown rice (medium grain, cooked, 1 cup) - 2.2
  • Oatmeal (cooked, 1 cup) - 1.4
  • Bread (whole wheat, 1 slice) - 0.7
  • White rice (long grain, cooked, 1 cup) - 0.6

How to include more whole grains in your diet? Try swapping refined grains like white rice and bread with whole grain options such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, and oats.


Top manganese-rich legumes content (Milligrams(mg) per serving):

  • Chickpeas or garbanzo beans (cooked, 1 cup) - 1.8
  • Soybeans (boiled, 1 cup) - 1.4
  • Lentils (cooked, 1 cup) - 1.0
  • Kidney beans (canned, drained, rinsed, 1 cup) - 0.6

How to include more legumes in your diet? Try adding chickpeas or lentils to salads, soups, or stews. Swap meat for beans in dishes like chilli or tacos.


Top manganese-rich seafoods content (Milligrams(mg) per serving):

  • Mussels (blue, cooked, 3 ounces) - 5.8
  • Oysters (Pacific, cooked, 3 ounces) - 1.0
  • Clams (cooked, 3 ounces) - 0.9

How to include more seafood in your diet? You can add them to your pasta dishes, stir-fries, or salads. You can also grill or bake them, or make seafood tacos or quesadillas.


Top manganese-rich fruit content (Milligrams(mg) per serving):

  • Pineapple (raw, chunks, 1 cup) - 1.6
  • Blueberries (raw, 1 cup) - 0.6
  • Apple (raw, with skin, 1 medium) - 0.1

How to include more fruits into your diet? Snack on fresh fruits, blend them into smoothies or top your cereal with berries.

Cooking tips to retain maximum manganese levels in food

To help ensure that you retain maximum levels of manganese in your food and enjoy its potential health benefits, incorporate the following tips into your cooking routine:

Tip 1: Opt for steaming instead of boiling

Steaming is a cooking method that helps retain more nutrients, including manganese, compared to boiling. When you boil food, some of the water-soluble nutrients,7 including manganese, can leach out into the cooking water. On the other hand, steaming helps to preserve the natural flavours, textures, and nutrient content of the food.

Tip 2: Use minimal water

When cooking vegetables or grains that contain manganese, try to use the minimum amount of water necessary. This reduces the risk of losing manganese through leaching into the cooking liquid. By using just enough water to steam or cook your food, you can help retain more of its natural manganese content.

Tip 3: Avoid overcooking

Overcooking can cause a significant loss of nutrients, including manganese. To retain maximum manganese levels in your food, it's important to cook it just until it reaches the desired tenderness. Overcooking can lead to nutrient degradation, so keep an eye on your cooking times and avoid leaving food in the heat for too long.


Which fruit has the most manganese?

Among fruits, pineapple has the highest manganese content. A cup of pineapple chunks contains approximately 1.6 milligrams of manganese.

Which vegetables are high in manganese?

Several vegetables are rich in manganese. Some examples include spinach, kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, peas, and sweet potatoes.

Are bananas high in manganese?

Yes, bananas are a good source of manganese. Based on information from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, it has been found that they contain about 0.3 mg of manganese per 100 grams.8

Is garlic high in manganese?

Yes, garlic is indeed high in manganese. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 100 grams of raw garlic contains approximately 1.67 milligrams of manganese.9


Incorporating high-manganese foods into your daily balanced diet plan is a great way to ensure you're getting this essential mineral in your meals. By including manganese-rich foods in your healthy diet, you can support overall health and well-being.

Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist before making any significant changes to your healthy diet plan. They can provide personalised advice and ensure that you're meeting your nutritional needs.


  1. Office of dietary supplements - manganese [Internet]. [cité 18 août 2023]. Disponible sur:
  2. Palacios C. The role of nutrients in bone health, from A to Z. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2006;46:621–8.
  3. Li C, Zhou H-M. The Role of Manganese Superoxide Dismutase in Inflammation Defense. Enzyme Res 2011;2011:387176.
  4. Li L, Yang X. The Essential Element Manganese, Oxidative Stress, and Metabolic Diseases: Links and Interactions. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2018;2018:7580707.
  5. Lee S-H, Jouihan HA, Cooksey RC, Jones D, Kim HJ, Winge DR, et al. Manganese Supplementation Protects Against Diet-Induced Diabetes in Wild Type Mice by Enhancing Insulin Secretion. Endocrinology 2013;154:1029–38.
  6. Alice Callahan P, Heather Leonard Me, Tamberly Powell MS. Classification of vitamins and minerals. 14 oct 2020 [cité 18 août 2023]; Disponible sur:
  7. Fooddata central [Internet]. [cité 18 août 2023]. Disponible sur:
  8. Fooddata central [Internet]. [cité 18 août 2023]. Disponible sur:

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Linda Eva Seuna Kamaha

Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, University of Yaounde
Master of Professional in Applied Nutrition, University of Ngaoundere, Cameroon

Linda is a clinical nutritionist and SEO health content marketer/writer with several years of experience. She loves demystifying complex health concepts and debunking myths to help people become more health-savvy. When she's not busy copywriting, blogging, or creating topic clusters, you'll probably catch her enjoying a delicious bowl of pineapple slices or embarking on a nature hike with her family.

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