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Diet and Lifestyle

Udo’s Choice® Ultimate Oil Blend

Certified organic, Udo’s Oil is a seed oil formulated to contains the perfect ratio of 2:1 of Omega 3 and 6. What’s more, it’s the richest vegan source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids available in Ireland. These essential fatty acids play a key role in many functions including heart, brain and vision health to help you look and feel amazing, inside and out.

How much Udo’s Oil should I take?

We recommend one dessertspoon for every 25kg of body weight per day to get optimum benefit. It’s best to start with one spoon and build up to your optimum amount. A small number of people can feel a little nausea as the body adjusts, so if this happens, reduce the amount you take and build up gradually.  Most people need a little more in winter than summer.

Can the oil be added to hot foods? 

Yes, steamed veggies, baked potatoes, soups, etc, but after they are served.

Can I stir-fry with the oil?

Please do not do this. Heat damages the properties of the oil so you will lose all the wonderful benefits. It is no problem to add the oil to warm food once it has been served.

How long can Udo’s Oil be left out of the fridge?

Our instruction is to make sure it is stored in the fridge. Stability tests have shown that there is no change/loss in stability for 3 days out of fridge. To get the longest life for the oil, this needs to be in the fridge. 

What is the shelf life of Udo’s Oil?

Unopened – 12 months if refrigerated, up to 2 years if frozen and 8 weeks once opened.

What is the difference between the capsules and the liquid oil?

You need to take a lot more tablets for the same benefits. It takes 14 capsules to give you 1 tbsp of the liquid oil. The capsules are for convenience and travelling.

Can I take Udo’s Oil while Pregnant and Breastfeeding?

Yes, firstly because Udo’s Oil does not contain either Vitamin A or D. Secondly, EFA’s are required by infants for proper brain development, particularly between the third trimester of pregnancy and 18 months of age. Pregnant women can become quite deficient in EFA’s as the foetus draw these from the mother. As well as the possibility of being physically depleted, this can have a knock-on effect on your mood during the challenging childrearing days. The addition of sufficient EFA’s to a mother’s diet is known to alleviate post-natal depression and stress. Supplementation with Udo’s Oil while pregnant and breastfeeding will ensure that both, mother and baby, receive sufficient EFA’s. Another great benefit is to your skin – lubricated skin is more elastic, less likely to tear or create stretch marks and returns more easily to its former tautness.

How much Udo’s Oil should a woman take while nursing?

The recommendation for pregnant women and new mothers is 1 tablespoon per 25kg of weight. While pregnant, as your weight increases with the growth of the baby, your need for essential fats will increase. 

Will the Udo’s Oil a nursing mother ingests affect the baby’s digestion?

Not usually; these essential fats are required throughout infancy and beyond.

Is Udo’s Oil suitable for children and babies?

Yes, Udo’s Oil can be given to babies over six months old, preferably mixed in food instead of off the spoon, starting with a teaspoonful, and increase with age as follows:

1-3 years – 2 tsp

3-10 years – 1 Tbsp

10 yrs and up – the full 2 Tbsp

How do I know I’m getting the right amount?

Your body is intelligent. It knows its own hierarchy when it comes to your health and prioritises your most vital organs. Heart and Brain are high on the list and will be first to take what they need from your oil. After your vital organs and glands are satisfied then come your joints and all soft tissue. Next, your skin, the outermost organ. When you feel your skin becoming smooth and velvety soft, then you can be sure the rest of the vital cells everywhere in your body are getting the optimum amount of Udo’s Oil. You’ll feel the difference.

Why is the ratio of Omegas we take so important?

Dr Udo Erasmus spent 15 years experimenting on getting the most beneficial ratio of Omegas we require daily. For example, he found that using Flax seed oil (linseed) alone, which is very rich in Omega 3 but low in Omega 6 can lead to dry eyes, painful finger joints, fragile skin and skipped heartbeats and lowered immune function. These are the symptoms of Omega 6 deficiency as they are crowded out by the Omega 3’s. Too much of a good thing! Long years of experience led Udo to blend a combination of oils which give you Omega 3:6:9 in a ratio of 2:1:1. He has reliably found this to be the most effective and beneficial blend.

Is Udo’s Oil considered a raw food?

Yes it is. Minimal heat is involved in its pressing, no enzymes are destroyed and it is not pasteurised at all.

Can Coeliacs take Udo’s Oil?  Is it gluten free?

Yes – because the oil does not contain any gluten from oats, it remains behind in the seed cake after the oil has been separated.

Is Udo’s Oil suitable for diabetics and will it interfere with the pill/blood thinning medication/other medication?

Diabetics and people taking the blood thinning agent Warfarin may need to monitor their requirement for the medication more frequently. Omega 3′s in particular are useful for thinning the blood – this will not happen overnight, but rather over a period of time. EFA’s also help to lower the glycemic index of foods which may reduce the requirement for insulin –  again, this must be monitored by a GP and will not occur overnight.

Does Udo’s Oil lower Cholesterol? How long will it take?

Omegas alone can help lower cholesterol, but only slightly. It’s phytosterols that block absorption and re-absorption of cholesterol from the gut, lowering levels by up to 25%. Unlike most other supplementary oils, Udo’s Oil contains a rich 65mg per tablespoon, an ample amount to help balance your cholesterol levels. The length of time it takes to notice results depends on your starting level but is usually 3-4 months. 

It’s high in fat, will it make me fat? Is it ok for my heart?

The oil blend has a reputation for reducing weight, particularly if related to fluid retention. EFA’s slow down digestion (a good thing) so we absorb more from the foods we eat. Udo recommends the oil is best taken with green foods as we will absorb more nutrients. If, however, the oil is taken together with carbohydrates, starches and sugars, we will absorb more and may increase weight rather than reduce weight. The golden rule is – take with green foods to reduce weight, or take with carbohydrates and starch to help gain weight. The fats in Udo’s Choice are the good fats which increase bad fat burn-off, which is good for both, heart and waistline.

EPA/DHA:

Is Udo’s Oil a source of EPA and DHA?

The traditional source of EPA and DHA is from the oils of cold water fish and marine animals. Among land animals it comes from the brain and glandular tissues. Modern scientific research has found out that these oils deteriorate very rapidly after an animal dies!! These two fatty acids are manufactured in the animal body – and in human bodies – from Omega-3. EPA and DHA are normal constituents of our cells, especially abundant in brain, nerve, visual, adrenal, and sex gland cells, the most bio-chemically active tissues in our bodies. However, in order for our bodies to produce EPA and DHA from Omega-3, the cells have to be healthy. Degenerative conditions may impair our body’s ability to make them. Fish and marine animals do produce these fatty acids in their bodies, but they get much of what they require from brown and red algae.

Omega 3 – Fish versus Plant source; which is better?

The Omega-3 EFA in the Udo’s oil is transformed by the body into the EPA and DHA as it needs it. Omega-3 in seeds is more stable, less processed and the body has better metabolic control over the transformation process. These EFA’s are readily available in fish oil. Fish oils are faster acting. The other concern with many fish oils on the market is that they may go rancid very fast. As well fish oils may contain high levels of mercury and other toxic metals.

How is Omega-3 used by the body? What about conversion of omega 3 to EPA and DHA?

Half of the Omega-3 intake gets burned for energy. 10-20% per day is converted into EPA/DHA, but this conversion depends, in part, on the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6. The conversion is slowed down by excess Omega-6 intake, so they need to be properly proportioned and balanced. The conversion may be hindered by a lack of nutrients like zinc, magnesium, and copper, B3, B6, Vitamin C and E. Women convert Omega-3 to DHA/EPA better than men (36% vs. 16%) Conversion of Omega-3 to DHA also depends on how much DHA is already present in the body. 95-99% of the population does not get enough Omega-3, and what is not present cannot be converted. Saturated and trans-fatty acids can also hinder conversion. Omega-3 and Omega-6 from organic seed oils are very easily used by the body. Taking all these variables into account makes it difficult to generalize but at minimum people are able to convert ALA to DHA at a rate of 2-5% and 5-10% for EPA. This means that one tbsp of Udo’s Oil, which has 6500mg of Omega-3, will give between 130 and 325mg DHA and 325-650mg of EPA.

GLA:

What is GLA?

Gamma Linolenic Acid – part of the breakdown of linoleic acid, or Omega-6.

In terms of the GLA content, is it possible to get too much GLA?

Almost impossible. There is only a minute amount of GLA in the blend, and since the body makes GLA from omega 6, you really cannot get too much from the oil. The omega 3 in the blend keeps everything in balance.

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Diet and Lifestyle

Udo’s Choice® Super 8 Microbiotic

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Diet and Lifestyle

Get Your Gut Back On Track!

An estimated 110,000 people consume antibiotics daily in Ireland, between December/March. (Source: Health Protection Surveillance Centre).

We asked Nutritional Therapist Rosanna Davison for her Top Tips to get your gut back on track after an illness.

1. Take time out

Don’t push yourself too quickly.  Remember your body needs time to rebuild its reserves and regain strength.

Take more rest than usual.  If you need to sleep longer, go to bed earlier.

Cut back on non-essential activities; they can wait until you are feeling 100%.

  1. Embrace fibre-rich foods full of protective nutrients

Fresh vegetables and fruits are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and antioxidants.  Try eating seven to nine portions over the course of each day. Choose different colours so that you nourish your body with a variety of phytonutrients.

Eat a portion of complete protein at each meal, such as poultry, fish, eggs, beans, pulses or tofu.

Consume essential omega-3 fatty acids daily.  Avocados, seeds (flax, chia) and oily fish (mackerel, wild and organic salmon), are naturally rich in anti-inflammatory fats.

  1. Go ‘fermented’

Fermented foods are rich in ‘friendly’ bacteria.  Sauerkraut is simple to make at home or buy kefir or kimchi in your local health store.

  1. Reduce or eliminate sugary foods

Processed foods often contain refined sugars to enhance taste. Excess refined sugar and processed foods may encourage the growth of ‘unfriendly’ bacteria, so aim to buy and eat fresh food.

If you have a sweet tooth, try eating berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries).  They are rich in antioxidants and naturally low in sugar.

If you need a sweetener, try Stevia which is extracted from plant leaves and doesn’t impact blood sugar levels.

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Diet and Lifestyle

Do vegans need to take supplements?

Do vegans need to take supplements

A varied, wholesome vegan diet provides almost all essential nutrients in sufficient quantities. I hear you shouting ‘Noooo! It provides absolutely everything we need!’ and you may be right, but only if you regularly eat certain fortified foods. The sad truth is that modern food production systems and lifestyles make it more difficult for everyone – vegans or not – to get all they need from diet alone. It doesn’t mean a vegan diet is unnatural or unhealthy, in fact the opposite is true. It means that how we grow, produce and consume food has changed and, with an ever-growing population, the demands on the systems that produce our food are so high that certain nutrients become harder to obtain.

Confusion, confusion

I get a lot of questions about supplements and understand why people are confused. Over the years, I’ve worked on many vegan research projects and as science and population studies reveal ever more data, the guidelines and recommendations change and evolve. Hence, what we were told 10 years ago may no longer be up-to-date and that’s why different opinions arise, depending on where and when we got our information. It’s my job to keep up-to-date, so hopefully I can bring some clarity to the supplement discussion!

So what’s needed? The trio of nutrients to keep a close eye on are vitamin B12, vitamin D and iodine. You may not need to supplement with all these, all year long, but it depends on several factors. Read on…

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 naturally comes from bacteria in the soil and both people and animals would traditionally have got it from eating unwashed plants. However, we not only wash vegetables before we eat them (and for good reasons), but food production is now so sanitised that most vegetables are washed in chlorine, or other sterilising solutions, so there’s not a trace of B12 left.

People are not generally aware that most farmed animals are given B12 supplements and this is how the vitamin eventually ends up in their flesh. So, the argument that meat is a natural source of B12 doesn’t really stack up as meat-eaters essentially consume B12 supplements recycled by the animals that were given them!

It is absolutely necessary that we have a reliable source of vitamin B12 for our bodies. We need it to make red blood cells, for a healthy heart and circulation, and it’s essential for the nervous system. It takes years to develop a B12 deficiency, so on one hand, you don’t need to worry about not having taken B12 for a while. On the other hand, you do need to pay attention, as when symptoms develop, it’s usually serious.

Do vegans need to take supplements

To ensure adequate intake, you should have at least 5µg (micrograms) daily from supplements or fortified foods. The B12 used in both foods and supplements is produced commercially by growing bacterial cultures in large vats – and it’s always suitable for vegans.

There are two forms of B12 in supplements – cyanocobalamin (cheap) and methylcobalamin (expensive). Cyanocobalamin is the stable ‘inactive,’ form of B12 and is used in supplements and to fortify foods and drinks. Once ingested, it’s activated by your body so it can be used. Methylcobalamin is the ‘active’ form of vitamin B12 as it does not require any metabolic reactions to be activated. It costs more and is not so stable.

So which one to choose? Unless you’re a heavy smoker, have kidney failure or any other serious condition affecting your metabolism, cyanocobalamin – the cheap form of B12 – is perfectly fine. Intakes up to 2,000µg a day are safe and you can take either a lower dose daily or a higher dose a couple of times a week.

Vitamin D

We need vitamin D for healthy bones, teeth and muscles and it also performs other essential functions in our metabolism. It is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight and this is the main source of vitamin D for most people. However, if you always use sun-block, cover most of your skin or live in a country, like the UK, where we don’t get enough sunlight over the winter, you need a supplement, whether you’re vegan or not.

The UK Government now recommends that we all take a supplement from October to April and, if you protect your skin ferociously over the sunnier spring and summer months, you should take a supplement all year long. Otherwise, just 20 minutes of sunlight on the face and arms is all that is required by the body to manufacture sufficient vitamin D.

Do vegans need to take supplements

Fortified breakfast cereals, bread, plant milks and vegan margarines can be useful sources if exposure to sunlight is not practicable, but may not be enough. When it comes to supplements, there are two types and your body can use both, but it’s advisable to check the source – vitamin D2 is always vegan, but vitamin D3 can be of animal origin. Many vegan foods are fortified with vitamin D2 and labelled so, but if not specified, especially on cereal products, vitamin D tends to be of animal origin. If you choose to supplement your diet, there’s a range of quality and affordable vegan supplements with vitamin D2. There are also those made from algae or mushrooms that contain D3 and these are recommended if you need a higher dose. When deciding on your dosage, 10µg per day is enough and you shouldn’t go above 25µg.

Iodine

Iodine has been a hot topic lately, especially with plenty of tabloid ‘experts’ warning that vegans are missing out. This mineral is necessary for thyroid function and helps to regulate how energy is produced and used in the body.

The amount of iodine in plants depends upon the iodine content of the soil in/on which they are grown. The closer to the sea, the more iodine and therefore vegans can get enough from plant foods, but there’s no guarantee. Seaweed, which of course grows in seawater, is always a good source and includes nori, laver, dulse and the kelp family (kombu, arame, wakame). But be warned – kelp absorbs far more than other seaweeds and you can get too much iodine from it. So, while seaweed consumption is encouraged, kelp should be used only sparingly.

Do vegans need to take supplements

It’s best to use a kelp supplement so you know exactly how much iodine you’re taking – it’s cheap, reliable and you don’t have to worry about taking too much. The recommended daily intake is 140µg and intakes up to 500µg are considered safe. In many countries, iodised salt is commonly used to ensure iodine intake, but it’s not the norm in the UK.

The dairy industry has been boasting about the iodine content of cow’s milk. What they don’t tell you is that it’s not a natural component of milk, but comes from iodinated cattle feed, supplements, iodophor medication, iodine-containing sterilisers of milking equipment, teat dips and udder washes. Cow’s milk is neither a natural nor the best source of iodine, so we can happily leave all that dairy out of our diet.

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