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Alessandra Fel ice discovers t he best foods to help support your immune system

With winter months and colder temperatures comes all the advice on how to beat colds and flu and how to ‘boost your immune system’. While we can’t exactly boost our immunity, what we can do is eat a diet that includes plenty of foods that contain the nutrients involved in the functioning of the immune system and production of immune cells. Luckily, a plant-based diet naturally offers a wide variety of many of these and, with a bit more attention towards some key nutrients, we can definitely support our immunity and if we do get a cold, maybe help to reduce its duration or symptoms.

A few of the essential macro and micronutrients are fibre, protein, essential fatty acids and vitamins such as A, C, D, E, folic acid, B6, B12 and minerals like zinc, selenium, iron, copper.

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that is contained in all plant foods in many different forms, so try to vary the foods you eat every week and pick new ones when you can. Certain high fibre foods like beans, legumes, artichoke, Brussels sprouts, bananas and other fruit and vegetables contain prebiotic fibre that ‘feeds’ the beneficial bacteria in the gut, and fermented foods like dairy-free yoghurt, kefir and kombucha contain different types of bacteria that are thought to be beneficial for the gut microbiota. Ingested probiotics can modulate immune functions by interacting with intestinal cells and gut-associated immune cells, but as probiotics don’t permanently alter the microflora, we need regular consumption.

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About Vegan Food & Living Magazine

Welcome to the latest New Year edition of the Vegan Cookbook, packed as always with 101 delicious, seasonal and scruffy vegan recipes. So many of us start the year with good intentions to eat better, but quickly fall off the wagon in the cold winter months when our bodies are craving something comforting. This year, you’ll find it easy to stay on track with our bowls of goodness recipes that will leave you full and satisfied, without scrimping on taste. We also have a great selection of Friday night dinners to help protect your wallet, while at the same time giving you the treasured 'takeaway' experience. Of course we have you covered throughout the day, from sumptuous breakfasts, soups and salads, midweek meals and for those who have a sweet tooth, plenty of fantastic desserts and treats to give you a boost during these winter months. Enjoy and happy New Year!