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Manganese Mysteries: Best Sources in Nigerian Dishes

Last Updated on November 20, 2023


Nigeria is a country in West Africa that boasts a rich culinary heritage.

Beyond the tantalizing flavors and aromas, Nigerian cuisine also offers many health benefits.

One important nutrient found abundantly in Nigerian dishes is manganese, a trace mineral that plays a vital role in various body processes.

Manganese is a micronutrient essential for multiple enzymatic reactions within the body.

It is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol, aiding in their breakdown and utilization.

Furthermore, manganese supports bone development and maintenance, and it acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from free radical damage.

One interesting aspect of Nigerian cuisine is its high manganese content.

Many traditional dishes incorporate foods that are naturally rich in this mineral.

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are commonly used in Nigerian soups and stews.

These vegetables not only add flavor and vibrant color but also contribute significantly to the manganese intake.

Additionally, nuts and seeds are an integral part of Nigerian cooking.

Yoruba cuisine, for instance, features plenty of dishes made with peanuts and sesame seeds.

These ingredients not only provide a pleasing nutty taste but also pack a powerful manganese punch.

In this section, we will explore some of the best sources of manganese in Nigerian dishes.

From popular traditional recipes to lesser-known local delicacies, we will uncover the hidden gems that contribute to a healthy intake of this essential mineral.

So, get ready to embark on a flavorful journey through the world of Nigerian cuisine and discover the manganese mysteries it holds.

What is Manganese?

Definition and role in the body

Manganese is a mineral that plays a vital role in the human body.

It is classified as a trace element, meaning it is required in small amounts for proper functioning of the body.

Manganese is mainly found in the bones, liver, pancreas, and kidneys.

Importance for proper body functioning

Manganese is involved in various physiological processes in the body.

It acts as a co-factor for many enzymes that help in energy metabolism, bone formation, and antioxidant defense.

It also plays a crucial role in the synthesis of cholesterol, proteins, and carbohydrates.

Manganese is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the production of collagen, a protein that supports skin health.

Daily recommended intake of manganese

The daily recommended intake of manganese varies depending on age, sex, and life stage.

For adults, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 2.3 mg for men and 1.8 mg for women.

Pregnant or lactating women may require slightly higher amounts.

Children and adolescents have different RDAs based on their age and gender.

Manganese is a trace mineral that plays a vital role in the human body.

It is involved in energy metabolism, bone formation, antioxidant defense, and synthesis of various molecules.

The daily recommended intake of manganese varies based on age, sex, and life stage.

Read: Exploring Vitamin K: Nigerian Foods for Blood & Bones

Manganese-Rich Nigerian Ingredients

Leafy greens and vegetables

  1. Leafy greens and vegetables are excellent sources of manganese.

  2. Examples include spinach (0.84 mg per 100g) and kale (0.54 mg per 100g).

  3. Incorporate leafy greens and vegetables into Nigerian dishes through soups, stews, and salads.

Legumes and beans

  1. Legumes and beans are highly nutritious and contain significant amounts of manganese.

  2. Popular varieties such as black-eyed peas (1.95 mg per 100g) and lentils (1.30 mg per 100g) are rich in manganese.

  3. Try traditional Nigerian recipes like moi moi or akara, which use legumes as a main ingredient.

Nuts and seeds

  1. Nuts and seeds offer a nutrient-dense profile and are good sources of manganese.

  2. Almonds (1.20 mg per 100g) and pumpkin seeds (1.1 mg per 100g) are especially high in manganese.

  3. Enjoy traditional Nigerian snacks like groundnut cakes or desserts like chin-chin that incorporate nuts and seeds.

Whole grains and cereals

  1. Whole grains and cereals are essential in a balanced diet and also contribute to manganese intake.

  2. Common Nigerian grains like millet (1.05 mg per 100g) and brown rice (1.02 mg per 100g) are good sources of manganese.

  3. Prepare nourishing Nigerian dishes including jollof rice and tuwo using whole grains.

By incorporating these manganese-rich ingredients into your Nigerian dishes, you can boost your manganese intake and reap its numerous benefits.

Read: Potassium Power: Local Nigerian Foods to Benefit From

Traditional Nigerian Dishes with High Manganese Content

Okra soup (Okra)

Recipe and health benefits

Okra soup, a popular Nigerian dish, is made by combining okra with other ingredients such as meat, fish, or vegetables.

It is rich in manganese, which plays a vital role in bone health and metabolism.

To prepare okra soup, start by washing and chopping fresh okra. Heat palm oil in a pot, then add chopped onions and sauté until golden brown.

Add the okra and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Next, add your choice of meat or fish, along with spices like salt, pepper, and bouillon cubes for flavor.

Allow the soup to simmer until the meat is tender and cooked through. Serve with your favorite Nigerian staple like fufu or eba.

Besides its manganese content, okra is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate, making it a nutritious addition to your diet.

Egusi soup (Melon Seeds)

Recipe and nutritional value

Egusi soup, another traditional Nigerian dish, is made from melon seeds and various vegetables.

It is not only delicious but also a great source of minerals like manganese.

To prepare egusi soup, start by grinding melon seeds into a fine powder.

Heat palm oil in a pot, then add chopped onions and sauté until translucent. Add tomato paste and cook until the oil separates.

Next, add the ground melon seeds and mix well. Add water gradually to achieve your desired consistency.

Then, add your choice of protein like meat or fish, along with vegetables such as spinach or bitter leaf.

Season the soup with salt, pepper, and other spices to taste. Allow it to simmer until the flavors have melded together.

Serve egusi soup with your preferred Nigerian staple like pounded yam or amala.

Egusi soup is not only rich in manganese but also provides essential nutrients like vitamin B complex, magnesium, and healthy fats.

Efo Riro (Green Leafy Vegetables)

Recipe and manganese benefits

Efo Riro is a Nigerian vegetable soup made with various green leafy vegetables.

It is not only delicious but also a great source of manganese, vitamins, and minerals.

To prepare Efo Riro, start by washing and finely chopping your choice of green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, or ugwu (pumpkin leaves).

Heat palm oil in a pot, then add sliced onions and sauté until fragrant.

Add blended tomatoes, pepper, and other spices to create a flavorful base for the soup.

Once the tomato mixture has cooked down, add your choice of protein like meat, fish, or shrimp.

Allow the meat to cook through and then add the chopped green leafy vegetables.

Stir well and allow the soup to simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Adjust the seasoning with salt and additional spices to taste.

Serve Efo Riro with your preferred Nigerian staple like amala, eba, or rice.

Efo Riro not only provides a good amount of manganese but also offers other beneficial nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K, as well as dietary fiber.

Jollof Rice (Rice and Tomato-Based Sauce)

Recipe and manganese contribution

Jollof rice, a famous Nigerian dish, is a flavorful combination of rice, tomato-based sauce, and various spices.

It is an excellent source of manganese and other essential minerals.

To prepare Jollof rice, start by parboiling your choice of long-grain rice. Drain the rice and set it aside.

Heat palm oil in a pot, then add sliced onions and sauté until translucent.

Add blended tomatoes, pepper, and other spices to create a rich and aromatic sauce.

Once the tomato sauce has cooked down, add the parboiled rice and mix well.

Add water or broth gradually, ensuring it covers the rice completely.

Cover the pot and allow the rice to cook on low heat until it is tender and has absorbed all the flavors.

Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Jollof rice is usually served with a variety of side dishes such as fried plantains, chicken, or salad.

It not only provides a satisfying meal but also contributes to your manganese intake.

Moi Moi (Beans)

Recipe and manganese significance

Moi Moi is a well-known Nigerian dish made from beans.

It is not only delicious but also a great source of manganese and other essential nutrients.

To prepare Moi Moi, start by soaking beans overnight to soften them. Drain and peel the beans the next day.

Blend the peeled beans with onions, peppers, and other desired spices until you achieve a smooth batter-like consistency.

Add vegetable oil or palm oil to the mixture and mix well.

Next, pour the batter into individual containers or aluminum foil wraps, then steam for about 40-60 minutes until the Moi Moi is firm and cooked through.

Moi Moi is usually served as a side dish or snack, and it pairs well with other Nigerian dishes like jollof rice or fried plantains.

It is not only rich in manganese but also provides a good amount of fiber, protein, and vitamins.

Incorporating these traditional Nigerian dishes into your diet can be an excellent way to boost your manganese intake and enjoy delicious, nutritious meals.

Read: B-Vitamins in Nigerian Cuisines: Energy and Brain Boosters

Manganese Mysteries: Best Sources in Nigerian Dishes

The Health Benefits of Manganese-Rich Nigerian Dishes

Support for Bone Health

Manganese-rich Nigerian dishes, such as ogbono soup and ewedu, provide essential nutrients for strong bones.

These dishes contain manganese, which aids in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones.

Regularly consuming manganese-rich Nigerian dishes can help prevent bone-related diseases like osteoporosis.

Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties

Manganese-rich Nigerian dishes, like bitter leaf soup and vegetable stew, are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

These properties help protect the body against oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.

Including these dishes in your diet may lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Assistance in Metabolizing Macronutrients

Manganese, found in Nigerian dishes like jollof rice and moi moi, plays a crucial role in metabolizing macronutrients.

It aids in the breakdown and utilization of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

By including these dishes in your diet, you ensure proper nutrient absorption and energy production.

Contribution to Collagen Production and Skin Health

Manganese-rich Nigerian foods, such as egusi soup and akara, contribute to collagen production and promote healthy skin.

Collagen is essential for maintaining the elasticity and integrity of the skin.

Consuming these dishes regularly can help prevent premature aging, wrinkles, and skin damage.

In review, the health benefits of consuming manganese-rich Nigerian dishes are numerous.

Including these dishes in your diet can support bone health, provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, assist in metabolizing macronutrients, and contribute to collagen production and skin health.

Next time you prepare a Nigerian meal, make sure to include ingredients high in manganese to boost your overall well-being.

Read: Discover Zinc: Common Foods in Nigeria’s Markets

Including Manganese-Rich Nigerian Dishes in Your Diet

Tips for incorporating these dishes into a balanced diet

  1. Start by identifying manganese-rich Nigerian dishes that you enjoy and can easily find ingredients for.

  2. Gradually incorporate these dishes into your meals, aiming to have them at least once or twice a week.

  3. Experiment with different cooking methods to retain the maximum amount of manganese in the dishes.

  4. Consider adding nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits as side dishes to complement the manganese-rich dishes.

  5. Opt for whole grains like brown rice or whole wheat bread to enhance the nutritional value of your meals.

Suggested meal plans with manganese-rich Nigerian meals


  1. Enjoy a bowl of millet porridge topped with sliced bananas and roasted pumpkin seeds.

  2. Pair your breakfast with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice for an added dose of vitamin C.


  1. Prepare a plate of jollof rice cooked with tomatoes, onions, and spices, incorporating leafy greens like spinach or kale.

  2. Serve it alongside grilled chicken and a side of chopped cucumber and carrot salad.



  1. Prepare a bowl of roasted plantain chips sprinkled with sea salt, cayenne pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice.

  2. Enjoy the crunchy snack with a refreshing glass of pineapple and ginger smoothie.


  1. Have a hearty serving of egusi soup made with ground melon seeds, spinach, and assorted meats or fish.

  2. Serve it with a portion of pounded yam or whole grain fufu to complete your meal.


  1. Savor a plate of ripe mango slices drizzled with a mixture of coconut milk and honey.

  2. Top it off with a sprinkle of crushed peanuts for added crunch and flavor.

Incorporating manganese-rich Nigerian dishes into your diet is not only delicious but also beneficial for your overall health.

As you add these dishes to your meals, be mindful of portion sizes and balance them with other essential nutrients.

Moreover, consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to ensure your dietary choices align with your specific health needs.

Start enjoying the wonders of Nigerian cuisine while reaping the benefits of manganese for a healthier lifestyle.


Manganese is a vital mineral that should not be overlooked when considering a healthy diet.

It supports various bodily functions, including metabolism, bone development, and immune system health.

Nigerian cuisine offers an array of delicious and nutritious dishes that are packed with manganese.

From leafy greens like ugwu and ewedu to legumes and fruits like beans and plantains, there are plenty of options to choose from.

By incorporating these manganese-rich foods into your meals, you can ensure you are getting the necessary nutrients for optimal health.

So why not explore the flavors and benefits of Nigerian cuisine?

Try out new recipes and experiment with different combinations of ingredients to create your own manganese-rich dishes.

Your taste buds and your body will thank you!

Remember, a balanced diet is key to maintaining good health, and embracing the vibrant flavors of Nigerian cuisine is a great way to achieve this.

Enjoy the journey of discovering new dishes and the numerous benefits of manganese-rich Nigerian food!

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