Manganese is an essential trace element that must be obtained through diet. In the above manganese food table, you can see vegan foods with their corresponding manganese contents.
The trace element plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of healthy bones as it is involved in the formation of collagen and proteins that are essential for the structure and stability of bones. Additionally, manganese possesses antioxidant properties and is part of the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which neutralizes free radicals and protects cells from oxidative stress.
Manganese has a significant function in energy metabolism as it is involved in the conversion of carbohydrates and amino acids into energy. It promotes the activity of various enzymes that enable these metabolic processes, thereby ensuring an adequate supply of energy to the body.
Furthermore, manganese is important for the immune system as it promotes the activation of certain immune cells, enabling an effective immune response to infections and inflammation. It is also involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters responsible for communication between nerve cells in the brain.
In addition, manganese serves a significant role in collagen synthesis, which is essential for maintaining healthy skin and promoting wound healing. It contributes to the production of collagen, a structural protein that is vital for the strength and elasticity of the skin.
Who Has A Higher Manganese Requirement?
Here are some groups that may have a higher manganese requirement:
- During pregnancy and lactation, the need for various nutrients, including manganese, increases. This is because manganese is involved in the formation of collagen, which is important for fetal development and maintaining skin elasticity during the stretching of the abdomen.
- Certain health problems such as chronic inflammation, metabolic disorders, or digestive issues can affect manganese absorption and utilization.
- Some medications, such as certain antiepileptics and antibiotics, can negatively affect manganese absorption.
- Manganese absorption in the body may decrease with age. Older adults may therefore have an increased need for manganese.
- Chronic conditions such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease, or cystic fibrosis can affect manganese absorption. People with these conditions may have an increased need for manganese.
Foods High In Manganese
A balanced vegan diet that is rich in a variety of foods can meet the manganese requirement. The following list shows some vegan foods with higher manganese content based on groups:
- Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, corn, and spelt are abundant sources of manganese. These grains are not only rich in dietary fiber and other important nutrients. Here is the table of manganese in grain products.
- Legumes are not only excellent protein sources in vegan diet, but they also contain a lot of manganese. Chickpeas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, white beans, peas, and soybeans are very good manganese-rich foods. Products made from soybeans such as tofu and tempeh also contain high-quality plant-based protein and provide a lot of manganese. You can find the manganese table with legumes here.
- Various nuts and seeds provide a good source of manganese. Poppy seeds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are just a few examples.
- Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, dandelion leaves, Swiss chard, and arugula are not only rich in plant-based iron, but they also contain valuable amounts of manganese. This table reveals how much manganese is contained in vegetables.
- Some spices and herbs are also very good sources of manganese. These include ginger powder, turmeric, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, cumin, and black pepper.
- Although the manganese content in most fruits is relatively low, there are exceptions such as pineapples, bananas, berries (such as blueberries and raspberries), and persimmons that contain some manganese. Dried fruits like dried apricots, raisins, plums, dates, figs, cranberries, and dried mangoes, on the other hand, are better sources of manganese.
- Cocoa and dark chocolate also provide manganese. Make sure to choose chocolates with a high cocoa content as they generally contain more manganese than lighter chocolates.
Enhancing Manganese Absorption
A high iron content in the diet can impair manganese absorption (source). Reduce the consumption of iron-rich foods when consuming manganese-rich foods or when trying to increase your manganese levels. An excess of iron in the body can also lead to a decrease in manganese concentration in the tissues. This is because a high concentration of iron can affect the uptake of manganese into cells, which can result in reduced activity of manganese-dependent enzymes, as manganese is an important component of many enzymes in the body.
Conversely, a iron deficiency can increase manganese absorption. When iron is scarce in the body, it can affect the expression of transport proteins responsible for both iron and manganese. This can result in more manganese being absorbed even if manganese intake is sufficient. Therefore, a balance between iron and manganese in the body should be maintained to ensure optimal function of both minerals.
A high intake of calcium and phosphorus from the diet can reduce the absorption of manganese. These minerals can compete with manganese for the same absorption mechanisms in the intestine, thus reducing the availability of manganese (⇒ low-calcium foods and ⇒ low-phosphorus foods).
Phytic acid can affect the absorption of minerals such as manganese in the intestine. It is a natural compound found in many plant-based foods such as grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It forms complex compounds with minerals like manganese, known as phytates. These can reduce the bioavailability of manganese by hindering its absorption in the intestine. This means that the body may not be able to absorb all the manganese present in phytic acid-containing foods. However, there are ways to reduce the effect of phytic acid on manganese absorption. You can increase the bioavailability of manganese by soaking, sprouting, or fermenting phytic acid-containing foods. These processing methods help reduce the phytic acid content.
Here are recipe examples that are rich in foods containing manganese. This way, you can easily incorporate manganese into a vegan diet:
- Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables
- Lentil dal with spinach
- Chickpea curry with coconut milk
- Spinach smoothie with almond milk and chia seeds
- Buckwheat pancakes with berries
- Beetroot salad with walnuts and orange dressing
- Vegan chili with kidney beans and bell peppers
- Zucchini noodles with sunflower seed pesto
- Quinoa burger with oats and vegetables
- Bulgur salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and parsley
- Stir-fried tofu with broccoli and sesame sauce
- Millet porridge with almond milk and berries
- Coconut curry with vegetables and basmati rice
- Vegan muesli with oats, apples, and nuts
- Quinoa stir-fry with bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms
- Red lentil soup with carrots and turmeric
- Cauliflower couscous with vegetables and chickpeas
- Mango avocado salad with arugula and cashews