Manganese in Foods

Foods which are good sources of manganese

On this page we discuss the availability of manganese in foods. Manganese is one of only three toxic trace minerals that are essential for the human body to function properly. In the 1930’s, researchers discovered that our bodies require small amounts of dietary manganese each day.

It is important to obtain the correct amount of manganese through your diet, as too much or too little can have adverse effects.

Manganese is believed to be an essential trace mineral for all forms of life. This page will show you how to be sure you are getting the necessary amount of manganese in your diet.

How much manganese do you need per day?

The average adult has between 15 – 20 mg of manganese stored is his or her body, concentrated in the kidneys, pancreas, liver and bones. Occasionally people can eat this much dietary manganese in a single day, with no ill effects, though regularly consuming more than 5 mg of manganese in a day can hinder iron adsorption. It is therefore important that on average you obtain your RDI as shown in the chart to the right.

As with all vitamins and minerals, the best sources of manganese are natural foods. There are many foods that act as a very rich source of this mineral, such as walnuts, and can strongly contribute towards keeping the amount of manganese in your body at a safe level. There are also many more that can provide you with a trace of the mineral, which when combined can still make a positive difference.

RDI Manganese

  • 2.3mg Men
  • 1.8mg Women
  • 2.0 mg pregnant women
  • 2.6 mg breastfeeding women
  • 2.2mg Boys 14-18 years
  • 1.6mg Girls 14-18 years
  • 1.9mg Boys 9-13 years
  • 1.6mg Girls 9-13 years
  • 1.5mg Children 4-8 years
  • 1.2mg Toddler 1-3 years
  • 0.6mg Infants 7-12 months
  • 0.003mg (3 µg) Infants 0-6 months


List of Manganese Rich Foods

Which foods contain Manganese?

The list of manganese in foods below is going to highlight what the best sources of this important mineral are. We will show you exactly how much manganese a single serving can provide you with, which will make clear just how easy it is to obtain the correct levels of this important mineral in your diet.

List of the best sources of manganese in foods

Here are 5 mega sources of manganese, followed by a long list of other great sources of this important mineral.

1. Nuts

Two of the best sources of manganese in foods are pine nuts and hazelnuts. Just a 30g serving of these nuts can provide you 100% of your daily manganese requiements. Below we have highlighted how this compares to other nuts that are also high in this important mineral.

  • In 100 g (3.5 oz) of pine nuts you will find 8.8 mg of manganese, which works out as 440% of the RDI of an average adult male.
  • 100 g of hazelnuts will provide 6.1 mg of manganese or 309% of your RDI.
  • In 100 g of pecan nuts you can get 4.5 mg, this is 225% of the RDI.
  • In 100 g of English walnuts there is 3.4 mg of manganese, totalling 171% RDI.
  • 100 g of raw almonds contains 2.2 mg, just over the daily reqirement for an average adult male.
  • In 100 g of salted peanuts there are 1.93 mg of manganese, which comes to 92% RDI.
  • In 100 g of raw cashew nuts you can obtain 1.7 mg of manganese, or 83% RDI.
  • 100 g of raw pistachio nuts contains 1.2 mg, amounting to 60% of your RDI.

2. Pumpkin and squash seeds

Seeds such as pumpkin and squash seeds are a wonderful source of manganese. 100 g of these seeds contains 4.5 mg of manganese, so one serving of dried pumpkin or squash seeds has over twice the total manganese that you require in a day, as well as providing you with many other nutritional benefits.

 3. Mussels

A 100g serving of cooked mussels contains 6.8 mg of manganese, around three times your recommended daily intake of this mineral.

4. Coconut

A 100 g portion of fresh coconut provides 1.5 mg of manganese; and the same weight of dessicated coconut provides 2.8 mg, well over the RDI for an average adult male.

5. Wholewheat bread

In 100 g of wholewheat bread there is 2.1 mg of manganese, delivering your entire recommended daily intake in one go.

There are plenty more foods that act as a rich source of manganese, and many of them you may already find that you eat on a regular basis. In order to ensure that your manganese levels are constantly topped up, it is important to make sure at least some of these foods feature in your meals on a daily basis.


more examples of foods containing manganese. All amounts are per 100 g (3.5 oz):

  • Saffron – 28.4 mg
  • Ginger – 33.3 mg
  • Ground cloves – 60.1 mg per 100g
  • Cinnamon – 17.5 mg
  • Parsley – 9.81 mg
  • Cocoa powder – 3.8 mg
  • Edamame beans – 2.2 mg
  • Sundried tomatoes – 1.9 mg
  • Garlic – 1.7 mg
  • Quinoa – 0.63 mg
  • Lemongrass – 5.2 mg
  • Maple syrup – 2.9 mg
  • Pretzels (wholewheat) – 2.7 mg
  • Blueberries -2 mg
  • Spirulina – 1.9 mg
  • Molasses – 1.5 mg
  • Shiitake mushrooms (dried) – 1.2 mg
  • Dessicated coconut – 2.8 mg
  • Wholewheat spaghetti (cooked) – 1.4 mg
  • Brown rice – 0.9 mg
  • Spinach – 0.9 mg
  • Sunflower seeds – 1.95 mg
  • Quinoa – 0.65 mg
  • Raspberries – 0.67 mg.
  • Hummus – 0.8 mg
  • Black beans – 0.4 mg
  • White rice – 0.38 mg
  • Strawberries – 0.4 mg
  • Prunes – 0.31 mg
  • Lentils – 0.5 mg
  • Kale (boiled) -0.4 mg
  • Sweet potato (cooked with skin)  – 0.3 mg
  • Yam (boiled) – 0.4 mg
  • Green beans – 0.3 mg
  • Banana -0.3 mg


Tolerable upper limits of manganese

As we have already stated, although it is important to have sufficient manganese in your diet, this mineral is toxic in high doses so here we have a useful chart to show how much manganese on a regular basis is too much:

  • Infants – undetermined
  • Toddlers 1 – 3 years – 2mg
  • Children 4 – 8 years – 3 mg
  • Children 9 – 13 years – 6 mg
  • Teenagers 14 – 18 years – 9 mg
  • Adults – 11 mg
  • Toxic levels – 50 mg (for long periods)

Manganese overdose can lead to similar symptoms to Parkinson’s disease, or to the disease itself.

Why Do We Need Manganese?

Manganese benefits
Manganese plays a vital role in many critical bodily functions, and anybody who does not get enough of this important mineral could face serious health problems. Some of the roles of manganese in the human body are as follows:


  1. Helps to deal with inflammation and heal injuries such as sprains
  2. Acts as a powerful antioxidant, monitoring the activity of free radicals in the body
  3. Vital to the function of your nervous system
  4. Essential for healthy functioning of the brain
  5. Helps to regulate your sugar levels
  6. Increases mineral density of bones, particularly spinal bone
  7. Manganese triggers enzymes that help to metabolise carbohydrates, glucose amino acids, and cholesterol
  8. Aids your digestive system
  9. Maintains thyroid health
  10. Helps the body to absorb other nutrients such as magnesium, B vitamins and vitamin E

As you can see the benefits of manganese are vast, despite it’s relatively low concentration in the body, so it is very important to ingest manganese in foods on a regular basis.