Manganese- The Overlooked Trace Mineral: Why You Should Have It And Where To Find It

Health & FitnessNutrition & Supplement

  • Author Emily Morris
  • Published October 17, 2015
  • Word count 989

Don’t mistake this mineral for magnesium…it has a whole host of different benefits for you. It’s name sounds similar to magnesium, and it’s a trace mineral (meaning you only need a little bit for good health) so it is often overlooked in school, and on the nutrition facts label. What does manganese do for you, and what foods can you eat to get more of it? Once you find out the answer to the first part of the question, you’ll really want to know the answer to the next, so use this article to improve your meal plan with manganese and all of its benefits now.

Manganese is a trace mineral. It is actually a metal, on the periodic table of elements. (Eating a metal? Of course, copper and iron are also on the periodic table, and necessary for good health because the body cannot make it.) Plants use their roots to take up this mineral from the soil in very small amounts. You don’t need a whole lot of it to get nutritional benefits from it.

First, it can help with libido, as it is a component of several hormones as well as connective tissue formation and good brain and nerve function. (All three of these are inter-related, to get a good result, you need to boost all 3 at once) It helps with bone-building (and is stored in bone tissue), it helps blood to clot properly, and fats with carbohydrates to be metabolized more efficiently. Manganese is also a part of anti-oxidant enzymes (these fight free-radical damage that leads to signs of premature aging) and studies are being done to see if it helps with inflammation fighting enzymes to calm arthritis symptoms.

Are people getting enough manganese?

You hear of vitamin or mineral deficiencies all the time in the news. Fear of skin cancer leading people to hide indoors all the time & not expose themselves to even a little sunlight for vitamin D. Ignoring leafy greens leading to vitamin A, or C deficiency, and more. The main culprit of any deficiency of manganese is generally the lack of whole grains. With refined white bread, crackers, cookies with white flour, bleached flour, and more being an easy modern option, it’s also easy to miss out. Studies suspect up to 37% of people might have a slight deficiency.

Strike a balance- It’s important

Too much of anything tends to be no good. It’s the same way with this trace mineral. You only need a little bit for benefits, and too much is unhealthy. Just like too much magnesium can cause bowel trouble, too much vitamin c can cause stomach irritation, so too can manganese if you get too much. So, the safest way to consume the right amount is in the diet. Manganese containing foods have low, easily absorbable levels. Unless you’re diagnosed deficient by a doctor, its best to stay away from supplements, since this is only a trace mineral. Plus, it’s easy to eat the right foods when you know the following facts.

There are plenty of tasty options for manganese

Sure, whole grains like bulgur wheat, wheat germ & buckwheat have it…but you’ve got tastier (and more common) choices too. How about tropical pineapple? Making morning fun with a breakfast of overnight oats (far from oatmeal, this breakfast treat can be flavored like anything, from PB&J to pumpkin pie, and beyond—recipes are just an internet search away) Adding crunchy nuts and seeds to salads, yogurt, enjoying tahini, chili powder and even cloves will provide it. If that’s not satisfying your sweet tooth though, you’ll be glad to find it’s in dark chocolate too. On the savory side, mussels, clams and oysters have it, but so does edamame, the roasted soybean.

But which food has 30% of your daily amount in just 1 ounce?

That’s the chia seed, and it has one more important fact in store: it tastes like nothing. You can’t hate it if it has no flavor. This also makes it super easy to add to lots of things you already like to eat. You can stir tiny seeds into yogurt, smoothies, and salad dressing. You can sprinkle flavor-free chia into your sandwiches, over your pasta, and even bake it into your cookies, cakes and breads. You don’t need whole grain everything when you’ve got seeds on your side. It can even be stirred into drinks like your favorite iced tea or lime-aid (chia-fresca) Unlike adding bulgur wheat or wheat germ, chia doesn’t tend to change the texture of foods, either.

This seed also comes with some very important bonus benefits. There’s more calcium by weight than milk, plus trace mineral boron so that you get the triple-combo of bone-building power nutrients. There’s healthy omega 3 oils, complete protein, and b vitamins. You also get two kinds of fiber to help improve digestion & feed beneficial bacteria.

Now that you know about manganese and its benefits, as well as where to find it, you can look for fun ways to add these foods to your menu. Life’s not all leafy greens and whole grains when you know you can get it in popular nut butters too like almond…and even famous hazel-nut-spread. Pineapple can contribute to some really super tasting health smoothies, and oats are amazingly versatile for breakfast and dessert. Being able to select chia seeds is important too, because they’re the food that goes with anything and is available year-round. It’s also great because you don’t even have to know how to cook anything to use them, if you can sprinkle or stir, you can get the benefits. In the internet age of recipes at your fingertips 24/7, eating healthy can be delicious and fun too when you find the right recipes and you know which nutrients you’re going for.

Not getting enough whole grains for manganese? Consider the versatile chia seed that goes with almost anything. Plus, there are so many more benefits of chia seeds than just trace minerals. There’s so much more to learn at with photos, videos, recipes and more!

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