Those interested in healthy living to help themselves feel better this autumn are no doubt aware that eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is a sure-fire way to boost the immune system and fight off bugs.

One way to increase consumption of healthy foods is to blend fresh ingredients and drink them as a smoothie.

However, when buying smoothies from shops, nutritionist Fiona Kirk believes it is best to steer clear of those which contain too much banana, which is often used as bulk.

"If you are buying a smoothie, go for the most expensive you can find because they haven’t been over-processed and therefore their shelf-life is shorter. It is amazing how often you find things like really good, quality smoothies in the reduced section of supermarkets at the end of the day because they haven’t got a long shelf-life," she explained.

"A smoothie has got to be really tasty and full of good nutrients; berries and cherries are the richest in vitamin C and antioxidants, but a good cross section of fruits is good."

Alternatively, it can be cheaper to bulk-buy fruit - supermarkets often sell fresh produce at a discount if it is slightly bruised or bashed - and blend it all together at home, perhaps with a couple of dollops of natural yogurt for a tasty treat that serves as a great wake-up call on chilly, dark mornings.

Adding juicy berries, ripe mango and a spoon of honey to the mix will also pack a punch, while individuals who want to get as many of their five a day in one go could also load up their smoothies with spinach, watercress and other leafy greens, the nutritionist suggested.

Meanwhile, healthcare group Wellness International has pointed out that using the whole of a pomegranate - including the skin, seeds and pith - gives a more concentrated antioxidant value than drinking the juice alone.

Posted by Matilda Jones