Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiencies with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – #Minerals – Manganese

In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few weeks we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Manganese is a macro mineral or trace element that is essential for the normal formation of bone and cartilage. It is also necessary for efficient metabolism of glucose and forms part of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase.

Unfortunately only about 5% of dietary manganese is absorbed which means that adequate amounts need to be taken in on a daily basis in our food.

Thyroid function

It is involved in a number of production processes including energy production, healthy joints, immune system function, sex hormones and thyroxine one of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Without thyroxine our metabolism would be inefficient and there would be an effect on every aspect of our health.

There are certain diseases where tests have shown the patients have been deficient in manganese and these include:

  • diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • heart disease
  • atherosclerosis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • mental conditions such as schizophrenia.

What is the role of manganese in bone health?

normal-bone-micrographWe tend to think of calcium and magnesium being the major bone minerals but in fact manganese and one of the main nutrients in Spinach, Vitamin K are also absolutely essential to ensure healthy bones.

Bone is not a solid substance. It is a living and changing tissue that not only provides the structural framework for our bodies but also is used to protect major organs such as the brain, spinal cord and the nursery for blood vessels.

We have all made plaster or papier-mâché; sculptures at school and would have begun with a framework and some form of mesh, usually made from chicken wire. In the body this mesh is called the osteoid and is made up of protein, collagen, elastin and Glucosamine polymers.

New bone is being produced all the time, particularly if there are breaks or wear and tear, so this mesh requires certain nutrients in our diet all the time including Vitamin C for collagen and B6, copper and zinc.

The Glucosamine polymers also contain manganese and to effectively combine all these components you need Vitamin K.

Once the network is in place calcium and magnesium have a framework that they can attach themselves to and bone is formed.

What other roles does manganese play in the body?

The body’s operating systems have a workforce made up of enzymes. Enzymes are protein based molecules that speed up all the chemical processes in the body or act as a catalyst for a particular function. For example without enzymes, digestion of food would not happen and we would be starved of the nutrients we need to survive. Without enzymes we could not live.

Manganese plays a role in most major enzyme activities in the body by activating certain nutrients necessary to the process such as biotin (manufacture of glycogen and prostaglandins in the immune system), thiamin, Vitamin C (immune system) and Choline (essential neurotransmitter in the brain). It is also involved in the synthesis or fatty acids and cholesterol, is involved in the processing of protein and carbohydrates and also in the manufacture of some hormones.

Therefore manganese helps maintain normal blood sugar levels, thyroid function, cholesterol levels, a healthy nervous system and acts as an antioxidant.

What are the symptoms of a manganese deficiency?

If someone is suffering from pre-diabetes and has elevated blood sugar levels they are likely to be deficient in manganese in their diet. In extreme cases they may suffer from nausea and vomiting, skin rashes, dizziness and hearing loss. It is internally however that the real damage may be occurring and that is in extensive bone loss that might only be identified in late middle age.

Despite manganese not often appearing in a starring role in nutritional information; it is involved in the treatment or prevention of a number of conditions including asthma.

Food sources for manganese

cannelinni beansThankfully there are plenty of delicious food sources for this mineral and they should all be included regularly in the healthy eating plan. A really good source for nutrients and protein are beans and I will also feature a post on those later in the week including how to prepare ‘wind free’ recipes!

Other foods that contain good amounts of manganese include spinach, brown rice, tomatoes and walnuts.

wholegrainsIt is important to include asparagus, pineapples, wholegrains, porridge oats, dark green leafy vegetables, raspberries and strawberries regularly. If you cook with herbs and spices basil, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, black pepper and oregano; they too will add manganese to your diet.

Time to hand you over to Carol Taylor who has been creating dishes that include ingredients that are great sources manganese.

How to include Manganese in your diet.

To find recipes which include the ingredients I want to use to make a dish I just enter the main ingredients in the search bar and it brings up recipes. It is as easy as that…

This dish includes a lot of tomatoes but when they cook down they are the best tasting tomatoes ever a little like a sun dried tomato and flavoursome.

Chicken, Tomatoes and Basil.


• 4 chicken breasts with or without skin.
• 4 large cloves of garlic flattened with the blade of the knife…I leave the skin on.
• 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
• A large handful of basil leaves half to add to the dish for cooking and the remainder to garnish the finished dish with.
• Good quality olive Oil
• Black Pepper and salt to season

Let’s Cook!

This is so easy to prepare put your seasoned chicken breasts skin side up into an ovenproof dish then add the tomatoes and garlic over the chicken. Drizzle with a good quality olive oil and scatter the basil leaves ovet the top keeping some aside to garnish the dish when serving. The basil leaves will burn or char but it adds flavour.

When I was assembling the dish it did look like a tomato overload but as it cooked the tomatoes took on an almost sun dried taste and the dish got the thumbs up from everyone.
Served with brown rice and steamed vegetables it was a lovely dish and I would definitely make again.

Tip: If you love your chicken skin crispy then make sure the skin is not covered by the tomatoes…

My aim is to try and I am not a dessert person is to give you a savoury dish and a dessert in this series.

Apples are plentiful this time of year and if you are trying to cut down on pastries then these apples fit the bill nicely…The apple without the pie…

Baked Apples…


• 4 large apples cored – any type except Granny smith which do not bake well
• 4 teaspoons unsalted butter cut in tiny cubes
• 1/4 cup walnuts chopped
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger or you could use fresh ginger very finely chopped or grated.
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• brown sugar to taste
• ½ cup apple cider ( I used ACV as I couldn’t get apple cider)

Let’s Cook!

  1. Place your cored apples in an oven proof dish. Mix the butter, walnuts and spices together and add to the centre of the apples.
  2. Pour your apple cider into the dish to stop the apples catching the bottom of the dish.
  3. Bake on 350F/177C or gas mark 4 for 45 to 60 minutes depending on your apples…Baste the apples every 15 minutes.

To Serve: These can be served with custard, ice cream or a dairy free coconut cream whip.

This was a lovely dessert and I think using Apple cider vinegar instead of cider took away the sweetness of the apple it was really nice.

I hope you enjoy these recipes which have been cooked and tested in my own kitchen

My thanks to Carol for these two delicious sounding dishes that will be tried in tested in my kitchen too…

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog and enjoy posts on healthy eating, conservation, waste management, travel and amazing recipes:

My thanks to Carol for all her efforts to bring great cookery and healthy options into our diets and I know she would love your feedback. thanks Sally