Why you shouldn’t add milk to your uji

Pulse Contributors

Fermented uji(cookpad)

Hello, lovers of uji?

For those that grew up in the village, they know how precious uji was, those days. It still is precious even though we tend to associate it more with children and nursing women. But if you are like me, any day is uji day.

Uji is my go-to meal most mornings or when I am trying to keep warm. I love it sour and if that’s not an option, I make sure to add some milk. All along, I thought adding milk to uji makes it more nutritious. I hate to burst your bubble but if you have been doing it like me, you got it all wrong.

Milk and uji do not go together. I know this is a hard one but unless you are taking your uji for the sake of filling your stomach rather than its nutrition value, you need to stop it.

Uji is rich in iron

We need Iron lest we become anaemic. Finger millet or wimbi as we commonly know it, is rich in a variety of nutrients such as Phosphorous, Zinc, B vitamins, Potassium, Magnesium, and Iron. It’s no surprise that we give wimbi porridge to breastfeeding mothers and children - they really need the Iron.

Iron plays several crucial roles in our bodies, among them transporting oxygen from the lungs to the body cells and tissues. So, you can imagine what a mess it could be if you do not have enough of it.


Now, let’s address elephant in the room. We all know that milk has Calcium, a mineral that helps in strengthening our bones. We want our bones strong and so we keep on drinking this white gold, albeit with moderation. The problem only comes when you combine Calcium and Iron. This combination does not work well.

Why Calcium and Iron do not go together

Studies have found that Calcium interferes with the absorption of iron. As such, someone might be taking foods rich in Iron such as uji, and still have Iron deficiency. This happens if you have been taking foods rich in Calcium together with those rich in Iron.

So, when you take your uji with milk, your body does not benefit much from the Iron in finger millet.

To increase the absorption of Iron, you are advised to avoid taking Calcium and Iron together.

For instance, if you take a meal rich in Iron, you can wait for an hour or two before taking milk or any other food rich in Calcium. Mayo Clinic advises taking foods rich in Calcium one hour before or two hours after taking foods rich in Iron.

Now let’s go and make our uji the right way!

The foregoing is an Article submitted by Anne Wangechi to Pulse Live Kenya for publication, it does not necessarily represent the position of the publisher.

Anne Wangechi is a freelance Content Specialist based in Nairobi. With six years of writing experience, including a considerable time working for Pulse Live Kenya. She finds joy in creating impactful content and helping others live their dream of becoming published book authors. The mom of one holds a BA in Linguistics, Media and Communication, from Moi University.

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