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Autumn is here… and this is such an important time to boost your immune system before the really cold and damp weather sets in.

However, even though the weather may be on the turn, there are some fantastic fruits and veggies which are just coming into season.

What about the squash family? Butternut squash with its bright orange colour is packed with immune-boosting beta-carotene – the brighter the pigment, the more antioxidants you are ingesting for cardiovascular health.

Looking to woodland areas, this is also mushroom season so aim to include a variety of types such as shiitake, oyster, chestnut and flat within your recipes.

These fungi are famed for their anti-cancer properties and all varieties are packed with selenium, for thyroid and immune function and vitamin D for immune support and bone health.

A more unusual choice for autumn are pomegranates which also contain anti-cancer benefits due to their very high antioxidant levels. They are also fairly low on the glycemic scale and are good for the heart. Use the seeds don’t throw them away… sprinkle over salads and cereals.

Another sweet treat for this time of year are dates which are full of magnesium thus helping us to relax and unwind. They do have a fair amount of sugar however so combine them with other ingredients. For instance you could pop some in a food processor with water and vanilla essence, whizz up and create a delicious creamy smoothie for breakfast.

Lastly, apples are ripe and juicy now and packed with pectin which helps to keep our ‘bad’ cholesterol at bay. Their fibre keeps us fuller for longer and those antioxidants and phytonutrients help to chase away nasty bugs and viruses. Enjoy on their own or add a little cinnamon and a few raisins for a gorgeous desert.