13 Manganese-Rich Foods You Should Have

Foods rich in manganese include mussels, whole grains, seeds, and nuts.

Are you hunting down foods that are rich in manganese? It may not be the first nutrient on most people’s minds, yet manganese has a vital role to play in your metabolism, bone health, and more. And luckily for you, the sources of the mineral are easily available at any neighborhood grocery store or farmer’s market!

Manganese For Normal Skeletal Growth And Carbohydrate, Lipid, And Protein Metabolism

Manganese is an essential mineral that you need to consume for the formation of normal healthy bones. It also plays a role in carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism. A manganese deficiency can cause impaired growth, issues with glucose tolerance and reproductive function, and alterations in how your body metabolizes lipids and carbs.1

Adequate Intake Of Manganese Is 1.8 Mg To 2.3 Mg Daily

Because of lack of sufficient data, authorities haven’t yet established a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for the mineral. However, they have laid down an adequate intake (AI) level at 2.3 mg a day for adult men and 1.8 mg a day for adult women.2

Be careful not to go overboard with your intake of manganese, though. While this unlikely to happen with dietary intake, if you take supplements that contain manganese, the tolerable upper intake level is 11 mg a day. Stick well within that to avoid adverse effects like neurotoxicity or adverse impact on the brain and nervous system.3

The daily value (DV) for manganese is pegged at around 2.3 mg per day. Which means you need to be looking at foods with at least 0.46 mg or more of manganese, translating to a %DV of 20 or more if you are targeting manganese-rich foods.4 Here’s a look at foods that make the cut.

1. Mussels

A 3 oz serving of mussels has 5.780 mg of manganese (251% DV).

A 3 oz serving of mussels: 5.780 mg of manganese (251% DV).

If you enjoy seafood, you’ll be happy to hear that a 3 oz serving of mussels, cooked in moist heat, has 5.780 mg of the nutrient, which amounts to around 251% DV of manganese.5 Mussels taste amazing in seafood stew, a Spanish-style seafood paella, a corn and seafood chowder, or a beautiful one-pot dish with herbs and flavors you love.

id="2-nuts">2. Nuts

1 oz blanched hazelnuts has 3.586 mg or 156% DV manganese

Nuts are a great way to get manganese, not to mention the other nutrients like calcium and B vitamins they pack in. Here’s a list of some of the nuts that are richest in manganese. You could use them in your salads, make homemade nut butters to spread on bread, or add them to your baking in cookies, cakes, and breads. You may even enjoy the crunch they bring to a bowl of porridge.

  • Hazelnuts, blanched, 1 oz: 3.586 mg or 156% DV6 Dry roasting them leaves you with a little less of the nutrient. An ounce of these nuts would give you 1.573 mg or 68.4% DV7
  • Pine nuts, dried, 1 oz: 2.495 mg or 108% DV8
  • Pecan nuts, 1 oz: 1.276 mg or 55.5% DV9

3. Legumes And Beans

1 cup boiled lima beans contains 2.128 mg or 92.5% DV manganese.

Beans, legumes, and lentils make a hearty meal whether they’re used in stews with or without meat, in filling soups, or even in zesty tacos with a dollop of guacamole and pico de gallo. Middle Eastern falafel and Indian curries made with chickpeas are a way to kick up the spice a notch! You could even make a French-style lentil salad, perhaps with some nuts and goat’s cheese added in. The variety of legumes and beans is mind-boggling, so pick a few favorites and use them in rotation for your manganese intake.

  • Lima beans, boiled, 1 cup: 2.128 mg or 92.5% DV10
  • Chickpeas, boiled, 1 cup: 1.689 mg or 73.4% DV11
  • Adzuki beans, boiled, 1 cup: 1.318 mg or 57.3% DV12
  • Lentils, boiled, 1 cup: 0.978 mg or 42.5%DV13

id="4-seeds">4. Seeds

1 oz dried pumpkin and squash seeds (kernels) has 2.495 mg or 108.5% DV manganese.

Seeds aren’t just for the birds! Sesame seeds that find their way into tahini and spreads or roasted and spiced pumpkin or sunflower seeds make a great addition to the diet if you are trying to up that manganese consumption. You could also scatter them over cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or even granola.

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds (kernels), dried, 1 oz: 2.495 mg or 108.5% DV14
  • Sesame seeds, roasted and toasted, 1 oz: 0.708 mg or 30.8% DV15
  • Sunflower seeds (kernels), toasted, 1 oz: 0.599 mg or 26% DV16

5. Whole Grains

1 cup rye flour has 7.759 mg or 337% DV manganese.

Switching to whole grains is a smart choice for your heart and gut health, and you can also up your manganese game in the bargain. Even a single slice of whole wheat bread can give you a good amount of manganese. Trade in white rice or pasta at mealtimes for pearled barley or use rye flour for your bread and you’ll see the manganese numbers adding up. If that isn’t something you see yourself doing, simply sprinkle some wheat germ into your morning bowl of cereal or have just the wheat germ on its own with milk or yogurt.

A slice of commercially prepared whole wheat bread has 0.636 mg of magnesium (27.7% DV), making it an easy way to get your magnesium with minimal effort.17

  • Rye flour, 1 cup: 7.759 mg or 337% DV18
  • Oats, 1 cup: 7.669 mg or 333% DV19
  • Toasted wheat germ 1 oz: 5.658 mg or 246% DV20
  • Brown rice (cooked), 1 cup: 2.139 mg or 93% DV21
  • Barley, pearled (cooked), 1 cup: 0.407 mg or 17.7% DV22

6. Pineapple

A cup of pineapple chunks has 1.53 mg of manganese (66.5% DV).

A cup of pineapple chunks: 1.53 mg of manganese (66.5% DV)

A cup of pineapple chunks contains 1.53 mg of manganese or 66.5% DV.23 So go ahead and dice up some to use in a salsa to go with your mains, or grill some off to dunk in dark chocolate for dessert. Of course, pineapple can be just as delicious treated simply – eaten on its own or whizzed into a juice.

7. Leafy Green Vegetables

1 cup boiled spinach has 1.683 mg or 73.2% DV manganese.

Leafy green vegetables in general are a good source of manganese. Of course, some are much richer in the nutrient than others. Spinach, for instance, has an impressive 73% DV of manganese. Beet greens and kale clock in at a not too shabby 32% DV and 28% DV. Depending on which green you are using, you might want to cook it up with pasta, make a more-ish green soup with it, or rustle up a bright fresh salad of mixed greens with perhaps some orange or lemon dressing or cheese to cut through the leafy flavor.

  • Spinach (boiled), 1 cup: 1.683 mg or 73.2% DV24
  • Beet greens (boiled), 1 cup: 0.74 mg or 32.2% DV25
  • Kale (boiled), 1 cup: 0.64 mg or 27.8% DV26

8. Tofu And Soybeans

1/2 cup firm tofu has 1.488 mg or 64.7% DV manganese.

If soybeans and tofu are on the menu, you’ll get in plenty of manganese too! An abundant source of the nutrient, firm tofu can not only be used in Asian stir-fries and curries, but also in Mexican style meals where you trade in the meat or chicken for some tofu. You could also whip up a special midweek meal with minimal effort when you make pan-seared, sesame-crusted tofu. A great dipping sauce and you are good to go! For a special weekend brunch, a tofu scramble with some herbs and veggies added in is delicious yet simple. Soybeans work nicely in curries, in rice with vegetables, with quinoa, and even in salads after they’ve been gently boiled.

  • Firm tofu, ½ cup: 1.488 mg or 64.7% DV27
  • Soybeans, 1 cup: 1.417 mg or 61.6% DV28

9. Sweet Potatoes

A cup of sweet potato flesh has 0.994 mg of manganese (43.2% DV) manganese.

A cup of sweet potato flesh: 0.994 mg of manganese (43.2% DV)

A cup of sweet potato flesh from a spud that’s been baked in its skin has 0.994 mg of manganese or 43.2% DV.29 So bring on that sweet potato mash as a side with meals or fashion them into crunchy croquettes. If you are looking for something as a main meal, use your sweet potatoes in a chickpea and sweet potato curry or a wholesome sweet potato soup. You can even use them in waffles and pies!

10. Berries

1 cup of frozen wild blueberries has 4.018 mg or 174.7% DV manganese.

Berries are nature’s on-the-go snack, so you don’t really need to do much with these colorful pops of flavor before you eat them. Munch on them between meals or use them in your salads or yogurt to make a regular meal feel special. Berries also pair well with game meats and in sweet and tart sauces and glazes, so feel free to experiment with them! You could even pickle some or turn them into jams or jellies for use in months when they aren’t in season.

  • Wild blueberries (frozen), 1 cup: 4.018 mg or 174.7%DV30
  • Raspberries (raw), 1 cup (sliced): 0.824 mg or 35.8%DV31
  • Strawberries (raw), 1 cup (sliced): 0.641 mg or 27.9%DV32

11. Tea

1 teaspoon unsweetened instant tea powder has 0.931 mg or 40.5% DV manganese.

If tea is your beverage of choice, you have an easy way to get your manganese. Whether your favorite brew is instant tea or home-brewed green or black tea, you stand to get anywhere from 20% to nearly 41% DV of the nutrient from a single cup.

  • Instant tea powder (unsweetened), 1 teaspoon: 0.931 mg or 40.5% DV33
  • Black tea, brewed, 1 cup: 0.519 mg or 22.6% DV34
  • Green tea, brewed, 1 cup: 0.451 mg or 19.6% DV35

12. Bananas

A cup of mashed bananas has 0.608 mg of manganese (26.4% DV) manganese.

A cup of mashed bananas: 0.608 mg of manganese (26.4% DV)

Bananas are a great pick-me-up in the morning or before or after a workout. Eat them plain or add them to a bowl of yogurt or warm oatmeal. If you’re up for a little more effort, a batch of banana bread or muffins should find plenty of takers! A cup of mashed bananas has 0.608 mg of manganese or 26.4% DV, so it is worth the effort.36

13. Spices: Cloves, Ginger, Cardamom, Turmeric, Cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground cloves has 1.263 mg or 54.9% DV manganese.

Your spice cupboard can be a goldmine when it comes to nutrients! And it is no different with manganese. Sprinkle just a spoonful of these ground spices into your cooking to elevate a recipe and add some heat or a new dimension of flavor. Some spices like cinnamon taste delicious sprinkled over coffee, while spiced tea made with cardamom and ginger may be just the surprise your palate needs on a tough day at work. And if you decide to make curries or Middle Eastern, Indian, or African food, you’ll have plenty of use for all these and more!

  • Cloves (ground), 1 teaspoon: 1.263 mg or 54.9% DV37
  • Ginger (ground), 1 teaspoon: 0.599 mg or 26% DV38
  • Turmeric (ground), 1 teaspoon:0.594 mg or 25.8% DV39
  • Cardamom (ground), 1 teaspoon: 0.56 mg or 24.3% DV40
  • Cinnamon (ground), 1 teaspoon: 0.454 mg or 19.7% DV41

So there it is. A list of foods that are a great way to get your manganese – and in significant amounts too! With these in your diet, you shouldn’t find yourself falling short of manganese intake anymore.