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Fruitylife: Seasonal produce, a valid tool for fighting off winter illnesses

Autumn and winter fruit and vegetables can be a valid tool to naturally strengthen the immune system, helping you fight off seasonal illnesses as well as the typical tiredness and fatigue of the colder months.

The first of the cold gloomy weather, the shorter days and the rain all conspire to spread the first seasonal illnesses, along with that lacklustre feeling of fatigue and melancholy that is so typical of autumn. More of a seasonal syndrome than an illness, due to the lack of sun and falling temperatures, it is becoming ever more common but it is easy to cure by paying attention to what we eat. During the first grey days and signs of laziness, make sure you adapt your diet to counteract the effects, adding seasonal fruit and vegetables rich in antioxidants and anti-ageing properties.

No less varied, colourful or beneficial for the body than summer produce, autumn and winter fruit and vegetables also offer a vast range of products to choose from: kiwis, citrus fruits, apples, pears, chestnuts, pomegranates, persimmons, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, beetroot, cabbage, spinach, leeks and pumpkin. A wide range of colours from orange to brown, purple to green, and a huge variety of nutritional properties to help the body prevent and heal from seasonal illnesses and more. Mainly thanks to vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps strengthen the immune system, found especially in kiwis and citrus fruit (oranges, clementines and mandarins), but also in cauliflower and broccoli, also vitamins B and A and the various mineral salts, useful if you're feeling tired or anaemic.

Apples contain a complete range of potassium, magnesium and calcium, making them suitable for all diets while its high levels of fibre and water help you feel full. The potassium absorbed when you eat a pear helps prevent problems such as fatigue, depression and high blood pressure. Calcium and phosphorus can protect our bones and the fibre, which pears are high in, combat harmful cholesterol and help you stay regular. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in persimmons are an excellent mix to improve your immune system and protect you from seasonal illnesses, while also having diuretic and laxative properties. The alfa-beta carotene in pumpkins helps your eyesight and boosts cell growth, while vitamin A is ideal for healthy skin, bones and teeth.

Each type of fruit or vegetable has its own nutritional qualities and provides acknowledged benefits for physical and mental health and wellbeing, which you can get the best out of by choosing seasonal produce. To check which fruit and vegetables are in season, go to www.fruitylife.eu, created as part of the "Fruitylife – Fruit and vegetables, healthy and safe" project, you'll find a practical and colourful calendar showing the main seasonal products for each month, along with information on the nutritional substances they contain. On the Fruitylife site you'll also find lots of easy and fast recipes, pointers for a healthy diet, nutritional tables, information on the European fruit and vegetable industry, interviews with experts and funny videos.

In fact, the Fruitylife project aims to promote correct information about fruit and vegetables in Europe, in order to increase their consumption. The project is funded by the European Union together with the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policy, and coordinated by Alimos-Alimenta la Salute, a cooperative formed of public bodies, farmers unions and cooperatives in the agri-food sector. Alimos partners involved in the project include some of the biggest Italian figures in the sector, using advanced quality and certification systems: Alegra, Apofruit Italia, Conor, Naturitalia and Orogel Fresco.

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