THE ‘Fabolous Pharmacist’ Laura Dowling offers her top tips on eating your way to a healthy immune system.
While many of us were guilty of overindulging during lockdown, now is the time to make those all important changes to your diet and lifestyle to ensure both your gut and immune system are in top shape ahead of the summer months.
Pharmacist and Mum-of-three Laura Dowling a.k.a. the ‘Fabulous Pharmacist’ says “A lot of people don’t realise that the digestive system plays an important role in regulating the health of our immune system. By making a few small adjustments to your family’s daily routine, you can reap the rewards down the line.”
Laura Dowling (a.k.a. Fabulous Pharmacist) is passionate about sharing her knowledge of all things health-related in an accessible, relatable manner via her Instagram channel. Her primary audience is females across a wide age range who tune in to hear Laura’s thoughts on medicine, illness, natural therapies, nutrition, supplements, exercise, yoga and cooking amongst other things.
With a degree from Trinity and almost 20 years’ experience under her belt, Laura aims to give her followers the tools to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle without resorting to short-term crazes or fads.
Laura’s top tips for a healthy immune system:
Eat a wide range of plant-based foods
A plant-based diet can fend off harmful bacteria and help to protect your gut health. Try to include more fruit and vegetables in your daily meals. As the weather improves, it’s easier to add salads and other plant-based side dishes to your dinner table. The microbes in your gut feed off these kinds of foods and this helps to promote the growth of good bacteria.
Introduce more fibre to your meals
A fibre friendly diet has many health benefits. It can help your digestive system by feeding your gut bacteria and keeping it healthy. Nuts, wholegrains and vegetables are all great sources of dietary fibre that are easy to add to your favourite dishes. Make sure to spread your fibre intake throughout the day to avoid bloating too.
Include fermented foods in your diet
Fermented foods and beverages are becoming increasingly popular and are available in most supermarkets. Foods such as natural yoghurt, kefir, miso and some cheeses contain good bacteria which are excellent for gut health. Probiotic supplements are another great way to add good bacteria to your body. I regularly recommend ‘Alflorex Immune’ which is a probiotic that also includes the added benefit of Vitamin D.
Avoid processed foods
We’ve all reached for that extra slice of cake over the past few months but processed foods tend to have added sugar or salt and this can disrupt the balance of healthy gut bacteria which can make you feel sluggish and bloated. Try to replace some of the processed foods on your shopping list with a healthier whole food option instead.
Don’t overuse antibiotics
Antibiotics kill good bacteria as well as bad bacteria and should only be used when absolutely necessary. Many infections, such as cold and flu, are viral and do not require antibiotics. Don’t underestimate your immune system’s strength in fighting these infections!
Make sure you get enough sleep
While it’s easier said than done, establishing a sleep routine that works for you is important. It benefits all body functions including gut health. Try to avoid too much screen time and stimulants like tea or coffee close to bedtime.
Whether talking about skin concerns, constipation, female incontinence or mental health, Laura aims to educate her followers and shine a light on topics that people can often shy away from. In addition to her social media presence, Laura is a frequent contributor to Irish media and can be regularly seen on TV and in print as well as heard on radio.