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Top 10 Foods Highest in Manganese

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
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Top 10 Foods Highest in Manganese

Manganese is required by the body for proper enzyme functioning, nutrient absorption, wound healing, and bone development.

Manganese deficiency is rare but can be expressed in poor bone health, joint pain, and fertility problems.

Overconsumption of manganese from food sources is also rare and can adversely affect the neurological system.

Health benefits of manganese include strengthening weak bones, anti-oxidant protection, alleviating premenstrual syndrome (PMS), anemia, arthritis, alopecia (spot baldness), and prevention of epileptic seizures. However, more research needs to be conducted to confirm these health benefits.

Foods high in manganese include mussels, wheat germ, tofu, sweet potatoes, nuts, brown rice, lima beans, chickpeas, spinach, and pineapples. The current daily value (%DV) for manganese is 2.3mg.

Below is a list of high manganese foods sorted by a common serving size, see the complete nutrient ranking of manganese foods to sort by a 100 gram or 200 calorie serving size.

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List of High Manganese Foods


More Shellfish High in Manganese

-83% DV in 20 small clams
-45% DV in 3oz of oysters
-19% DV in 3oz of cooked crayfish

See all fish and seafood high in manganese.
2Toasted Wheat Germ
Photo of wheat plants
Sprinkle toasted wheat germ on top of cereal, salads, and toast.
3Firm Tofu
A block of tofu

More Soy Products High in Manganese

-94% DV in 1 cup of tempeh
-39% DV in 1 cup of green soybeans (edamame)
4Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes

More Vegetables High in Manganese

-42% DV in 1 cup of collards
-37% DV in 1 cup of peas
-34% DV in 1 cup of okra

See all vegetables high in manganese.
5Pine Nuts
Pine Nuts

More Nuts and Seeds High in Manganese

-94% DV per oz of hemp seeds
-76% DV per oz of hazelnuts
-56% DV per oz of pecans

See all nuts and seeds high in manganese.
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6Brown Rice
Brown Rice

More Whole Grains High in Manganese

-67% DV in 1 cup of whole wheat pasta
-59% DV in 1 cup of oatmeal
-51% DV in 1 cup of quinoa

See all whole grains high in manganese.
7Lima Beans
Lima Beans
8Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

More Beans High in Manganese

-49% DV in 1 cup of large white beans
-43% DV in 1 cup of navy beans
-43% DV in 1 cup of lentils

See all beans high in manganese.
A Bowl of Spinach

More Fruits High in Manganese

-40% DV in 1 cup of blackberries
-36% DV in 1 cup of raspberries
-29% DV in 1 cup of grapes
-28% DV in 1 cup of strawberries
-22% DV in 1 cup of blueberries

See all fruits high in manganese.
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Health Benefits of Manganese

  • Antioxidant Protection - Manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) is the principal antioxidant used during energy production in the mitochondria (the powerhouse of our cells).(2)
  • Osteoporosis Protection (*Controversial) - Two recent studies have found that women with osteoporosis have lower blood manganese levels than women without osteoporosis.(3,4) This finding is a correlation and does not suggest any specific link between manganese and osteoporosis, however, it is promising since manganese is involved in bone development. Despite this theory, anotherstudy found no difference in blood magnesium levels between women with osteoporosis and women without it, creating doubts about the effects of manganese.(5)
  • Prevention of Epileptic Seizures - Preliminary studies in rats show that those with lower manganese levels are more prone to epileptic seizures. There is also evidence that people with lower manganese levels have a greater risk of epileptic seizures. The causes of epilepsy, however, are not well understood, and more research needs to be done before there can be a conclusive link between epilepsy and manganese.(6,7)
  • Prevention of Alopecia (Spot Baldness) - A study on alopecia reported that all 19 participants were deficient in manganese. Several other participants also had problems with calcium absorption and zinc metabolism. After 2-3 months of micro-nutrient therapy normal hair growth was resumed.(8)


  • Mussels, Oysters, and Clams are high cholesterol foods which should be eaten in moderate amounts and avoided by people at risk of heart disease or stroke.
  • Intake of manganese from enriched infant formulas can lead to hyperactive children, or learning disabled children. Excessive levels of manganese are toxic and suppliments should be approached with care.(9)

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Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.
  2. Leach RM, Harris ED. Manganese. In: O'Dell BL, Sunde RA, eds. Handbook of nutritionally essential minerals. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc; 1997:335-355.
  3. Freeland-Graves J, Llanes C. Models to study manganese deficiency. In: Klimis-Tavantzis DL, ed. Manganese in health and disease. Boca Raton: CRC Press, Inc; 1994.
  4. Reginster JY, Strause LG, Saltman P, Franchimont P. Trace elements and postmenopausal osteoporosis: a preliminary study of decreased serum manganese. Med Sci Res. 1988;16:337-338.
  5. Odabasi E, Turan M, Aydin A, Akay C, Kutlu M. Magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium levels in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Can magnesium play a key role in osteoporosis? Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2008;37(7):564-567.
  6. Keen CL, Zidenberg-Cherr S. Manganese. In: Ziegler EE, Filer LJ, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 7th ed. Washington D.C.: ILSI Press; 1996:334-343.
  7. Carl GF, Gallagher BB. Manganese and epilepsy. In: Klimis-Tavantzis DL, ed. Manganese in health and disease. Boca Raton: CRC Press, Inc; 1994:133-157.
  8. Blaurock-Busch, E. Wichtige Nahrstoffe fur Gesunde Haut und Haare, Kosmetik Internat. 3/87.
  9. Collipp, P.J., et al. Manganese in infant formulas and learning disability. Ann. Nutr. Metab. 27(6):488-494, 1983.
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