Ugali and its nutrition benefits

Ugali is Kenya’s staple food. For most of us, ugali is a source of energy. When we are famished, we will ask for ugali. I also like ugali because it fills me quickly and for a long time. But that is not all that ugali has to offer. Today We will look at the nutrition benefits of ugali.


Carbohydrate is a major source of energy for the body. The body absorbs carbohydrates differently depending on the type of ugali. Carbohydrates from whole grain ugali have a low glycaemic index. They are therefore absorbed slowly. This keeps you full for long. It also helps to prevent obesity as well as manage diabetes. This ugali is therefore the best not only for people with diabetes but for everyone.

On the other hand, ugali from refined flour has a high glycaemic index. It is digested faster and absorbed quickly. This causes a spike in blood glucose and therefore not good for diabetics.


Fiber is the indigestible part of foods. Ugali is a good source of fiber, especially ugali from whole maize flour, sorghum, or finger millet. The nutritional benefits of fiber in ugali include; preventing constipation, effective blood sugar balance, and the management of diabetes.

Vitamin B

Vitamins in 100g of ugaliVit. A (µg)Vit. B1 (µg)Vit. B2 (µg)Vit. B3 (µg)Vit. B9 (µg)Vit. C (µg)
Whole Maize Flour Ugali    00.08   0.04    0.8200
Refined Maize Flour Ugali                00.09      0.040.8210
Maize and Finger Millet Flour Ugali00.07   0.021.2240
Maize, Red Sorghum and Finger Millet ugali0
Cassava and Red Sorghum Ugali     3
Cassava Flour Ugali                         7
Adopted from Kenya food composition tables 2018

Vitamin B is a complex of 8 vitamins. Ugali is a good source of B-vitamins especially Thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), and Niacin (B3). It also contains some Folate (B9) which is needed especially by pregnant women. The B-vitamins in ugali helps our bodies to use energy well. They also contribute to healthy skin, heart, proper brain function and prevention of dementia, proper digestion, and healthy hair and nails.

Riboflavin also protects our eyes from cataracts which can lead to blindness


Minerals in 100g of ugaliCa (mg)Fe (mg)Mg (mg)P (mg)K (mg)Na (mg)Zn (mg)Se (µg)
Whole Maize Flour Ugali                               12  1.1311509370.774
Refined Maize Flour Ugali                              12   1.1331589780.814
Maize and Finger Millet Flour Ugali             79      2.94811215860.735
Maize, Red Sorghum and Finger Millet Ugali39   1.94411813160.725
Cassava and Red Sorghum Ugali                    24     0.9387416390.505
Cassava Flour Ugali                                           79      0.82657326200.411
Adopted from Kenya food composition tables 2018

Ugali contains many minerals. The nutrition benefit of minerals in ugali include; supporting normal bone and teeth development, hemoglobin formation, growth regulation, regulation of acid-base balance in the body as well as energy metabolism

Fortified flours

The government of Kenya requires millers to fortify their flours with minerals and vitamins. As you can see the vitamin and mineral content of ugali from whole maize flour is the same as the one from refined flour. You can therefore enjoy your packet of sifted flour without fear. Always check for the above symbol of food fortification on your packet of flour.

However, it is also important to note that the added minerals and vitamins reduce with storage time. Always check the date of manufacture, buy the latest bag of flour and use it soon. Direct sunlight speeds up the loss of the added minerals and vitamins. It is therefore advisable that you always keep your flours away from direct sunlight.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers’ who always go out of their way to ensure that their families are nourished!