FOOD NUTRITION: Benefits of Ugali

Because Ugali contains anti-aging components, it is beneficial to the elderly.

1. The History Of Maize

The History Of Maize
Different types of Corn [photo: Courtesy]

Maize is a well-known and widely cultivated plant. It is almost as good as rice, buckwheat, and wheat in stores on demand. Polenta is a tasty, nutritious, and healthy food. The ancient Mayans and Aztecs pioneered cultivation. Their main source of nutrition was corn.

2. Ugali; History

Ugali; History
Ugali-fish [photo courtesy of Sima Poa]

In Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa, ugali is known by a variety of names, including "nsima" or "nshima" in Malawi and Zambia, "pap" or "mealie pap" in South Africa, and "sadza" in Zimbabwe. When Portuguese traders introduced maize to Kenya in the nineteenth century, ugali became popular in the coastal region. Large-scale maize farming soon followed, initially for export but later primarily for workforce support.

It's a typical delicacy made by consistently combining maize flour (or cornmeal) with hot water over a fire until it attains a lumpy, dough-like uniformity.

Today, ugali is the most commonly prepared and consumed meal in Kenyan households.

3. Benefits of Eating Ugali/Cornmeal

Benefits of Eating Ugali/Cornmeal
Sliced Ugali [photo: Dolop]


Maize flour aids in the removal of toxic food substances while also hastening the passage of human excrement through the intestines.


Maize has a high carbohydrate content. Many people prefer maize to other energy foods as a source of energy. Because it is a starchy food, it slowly releases energy into the bloodstream, ensuring that you remain energized throughout the day. Minerals and vitamins abound in fortified maize meal. Maize porridge is also sweet; it is fed to young children and can be used in place of milk.


Maize is high in vitamins such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and other trace elements. It is made up of 26 elements from the periodic table. Corn is high in vitamins B, E, A, and PP, which are beneficial to females' hair and skin and aid in the treatment of depression. Corn has anti-aging properties and is recommended for the elderly.


Cornflour's dietary fiber content aids in the reduction of bad LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

Including just 10 grams of this recipe in your daily diet can help significantly reduce the high level of LDL in the blood, which can lead to heart disease if it accumulates in the body.


Magnesium and potassium are essential minerals found in cornflour that aid in bone mineral density. In other words, potassium aids in the conservation of calcium in the body, reducing urinary calcium loss. The primary function of magnesium in the human body is to strengthen the bones, including connective tissues (cartilage) and teeth. These essential minerals work together to improve overall bone health.


Because it is a low-sodium diet, Ugali helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, and other coronary artery diseases. It is a good daily recommendation for elderly people, especially those with high blood pressure or who are hypertensive, because it helps to improve the situation and place it in a moderate state.


Scientific studies have shown that the presence of folic acid in Ugali has a significant role to play in pregnancy, aiding in the prevention of neural tube defects, which are abnormalities in the formation of the baby's brain and spine. As a result, including folic acid, a natural supplement, such as the one found in this corn flour/meal, does a lot of good from conception to birth.


Corn in its ground form, known as corn flour or meal, still has a high fiber content that can help with weight loss. Some people believe that eating corn and its derivatives will cause them to gain weight because it contains calories and some fat. Regardless, the amount of fat in this corn flour is negligible and contributes little to weight gain. On the other hand, the presence of fiber aids in feeling fuller while consuming fewer calories. As a result, corn flour is one of the staple foods that can aid in weight loss and body weight management, particularly when consumed in moderation.

4. Recipe for Ugali

Recipe for Ugali
Popular Kenyan journalist Larry Madowo cooking Ugali.


  • 4 cups- water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups-finely ground white cornmeal


  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Slowly stir in the cornmeal, letting it fall through your fingers.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring frequently, smashing any lumps with a spoon, for about 10 minutes, or until the mush pulls away from the sides of the pot and becomes very thick.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Put the ugali in a large serving bowl and set aside.
  • Wet/wash your hands, roll into a ball, and serve.