Healthy Foods High in Manganese

Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on November 23, 2022
4 min read

Manganese is a trace mineral necessary for many bodily processes, like nervous system function and maintaining healthy immunity. Your body stores some manganese in your organs and bones, however, you need to get adequate amounts from your diet.

Most people get enough manganese from food, but it’s also included in many multivitamins and other supplements. It sometimes appears in different forms, such as manganese sulfate or manganese aspartate. Scientists don’t know if one supplement form is better than another, yet, they agree that getting enough of this mineral in your diet is vital for good health.

Manganese’s role in your body is to activate specific enzymes to carry out their normal processes. Deficiencies are very rare and not well understood, however, may cause weak bones in children and skin rashes or mood changes in adults. On average, adult women should get 1.8 milligrams and men 2.3 milligrams per day. Some processes that rely on manganese include:

Bone Development

Our bodies need manganese for healthy bones and cartilage in addition to other vitamins and minerals. More research is needed in humans, however, studies show manganese increases bone mineral density and improves bone formation in animals.

Wound Healing

Manganese is responsible for activating prolidase, an enzyme that makes skin cells. Studies are ongoing, but some suggest that manganese may improve wound healing in combination with other minerals like zinc and calcium.

Immune System Function

Manganese stimulates powerful antioxidant activity in our cells, which prevents them from experiencing damage caused by aging and lifestyle activities. It also may reduce inflammation. Together, these effects could reduce your risk of chronic diseases linked with cell damage and inflammatory conditions like osteoporosis

Many foods contain manganese, and since we only need small amounts it’s easy to get enough in your diet. These 8 foods are healthy options to meet your daily requirement. 

  1. Mussels
    Many types of shellfish have high manganese levels. With 5.8 milligrams, a three-ounce serving of mussels offers more than 250% of your daily requirement. Cooked oysters and clams are great options too, with up to 1 milligram for the same serving. 
  2. Brown Rice
    Compared to white rice, brown rice is much higher in nutrients like fiber, potassium, and some B vitamins. It also contains more manganese with 1 cup of cooked brown rice adding 2.2 milligrams to your meal, compared to white rice at 0.6 milligrams. 
  3. Hazelnuts
    With 1.7 milligrams per ounce, about 21 hazelnuts can meet 76% of your daily manganese requirement. Pecans are high in the mineral as well, with 1.1 milligrams per serving, and peanuts — whether eaten from the bag or whipped into peanut butter — contain 0.5 milligrams per ounce. 
  4. Chickpeas
    Protein-rich chickpeas are a versatile legume. They can be added to soups, tossed into almost any recipe, and blended into hummus and other healthy dips. A half-cup of chickpeas has 0.9 milligrams of manganese, nearly 40% of your daily value. Depending on what’s in your pantry, you can also get manganese from other legumes. A half-cup of lentils has 0.5 milligrams and kidney beans offer 0.3 milligrams in the same portion. 
  5. Spinach
    Cooked spinach is a concentrated source of many nutrients, including high amounts of vitamin A and fiber. A half-cup also has 0.8 milligrams of manganese, 35% of what you need each day. If you prefer your greens uncooked, raw kale is a good alternative with 0.2 milligrams per cup.
  6. Pineapple
    A half-cup of raw pineapple chunks comes with 0.8 milligrams of manganese. Many other fruits can add toward your daily total as well, including blueberries with 0.3 milligrams per half-cup and a medium apple with 0.1 milligrams. 
  7. Whole Wheat Bread
    Just one slice of whole wheat bread contains 0.7 milligrams of manganese, therefore, using two in a sandwich has about two-thirds of what you need for the day. Research shows that getting enough whole grains in your diet may reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease or cancer
  8. BlackTea
    If you start your day with a cup of black tea, you’re already 22% of your way toward your total manganese requirement. With 0.5 milligrams of manganese, black tea also beats out brewed coffee, which has 0.1 milligrams per cup. 
  9. Potatoes
    A medium baked potato has 0.3 grams of manganese, but make sure to eat it with the skin. Along with much of the potato’s manganese content, potato skins have higher levels of fiber, iron, and vitamins C and B6 than the inner flesh.