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Supercharge your immune system with these 10 foods

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Supercharge your immune system with these 10 foods

Did you know that some foods can help boost your immune system naturally and work to keep you healthy? In this article, learn how to incorporate the best immunity-boosting foods into your diet – and why these foods in particular help protect your health.

Nature’s best illness fighters

Many foods you’ll find at your local grocery store can help keep you healthy throughout the year. These 10 common foods top the list.

1. Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain selenium, deficiency of which may cause increased susceptibility to contracting a virus, as found in a study published in Nutrients journal. The riboflavin and niacin found in mushrooms are also important for a healthy immune system.

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Try adding a handful of mushrooms to your pasta sauce, scrambled eggs and omelets, or throw them on top of a homemade pizza. Mushrooms are also delicious, simply sautéed or roasted with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.

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2. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes and other orange foods like carrots, squash and pumpkin contain the antioxidant beta-carotene. This is a form of vitamin A that is essential for keeping your skin strong and able to fight off bacteria and viruses.

“Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protects you from infections by supporting immune system cells and barriers that keep the bad stuff out,” said Kara Lydon, a dietitian, certified intuitive eating counselor, and author of the e-book Nourish Your Namaste: How Nutrition and Yoga Can Support Digestion, Immunity, Energy and Relaxation. “One sweet potato has over 380% of the daily value for vitamin A.”

Dietitian Kara Lydon says research shows that deficiencies in nutrients like vitamins A, C, E, B, D, selenium, zinc, iron, copper and folic acid can increase your susceptibility to disease. (Food Drink Life)

Try cutting sweet potatoes into strips and baking them coated in a little olive oil, salt and pepper to make a healthy homemade version of French fries.

Or, for a major time-saving hack, learn how to cook a sweet potato in the microwave, then simply top it with a little butter and cinnamon for an easy side dish.

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3. Almonds

Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, another antioxidant responsible for supporting the immune system. Grab a handful – 1/4 cup – to get 50% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin E.

4. Yogurt

Yogurt contains live and active cultures called probiotics. These can help stimulate the immune system and keep our gut and intestinal tract healthy and free of disease-causing bacteria.

Any yogurt with a Live and Active Cultures seal contains some beneficial bugs. You can see them in the ingredients list as well.

Dairy products, like yogurt, also tend to be good sources of vitamin D; a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased risk of contracting a cold or the flu.

5. Leafy greens

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are rich in a whole host of nutrients, including fiber, antioxidants and folate, which is especially important for immune function, as per a study in The Journal of Immunology.

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Both spinach and kale leaves are great tossed into a salad with another lighter, crunchier green, like romaine, for texture variance. Spinach leaves are also an excellent replacement for less nutrient-dense iceberg lettuce on a sandwich.

You can also use spinach and kale in fruit smoothies – just be sure to use only the leaves of the kale, not the bitter stems.

If you’re more a fan of savory, crunchy snacks, give a baked kale chips recipe a try – they are easy to make and surprisingly delicious.

6. Tea

Green and black tea contain polyphenols and flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help fight disease. In addition, an amino acid that’s responsible for an immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea. Decaf versions have it, too.

Drink several unsweetened cups per day to reap the benefits. To get more antioxidants from your tea bags, bob them up and down while they brew.

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7. Cabbage

This inexpensive winter vegetable is a source of glutamine, which has been noted by many studies, including one in Nutrients journal, to strengthen the immune system. Try it in your winter soups and stews, or throw shredded raw cabbage into your wraps or salads to add a nice crunch that won’t change the flavor profile of the meal.

8. Garlic

In addition to warding off vampires, garlic also contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria with its antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Minced garlic is great sautéed with spinach and a little olive oil for a simple side dish, and minced garlic is also a delicious addition to homemade salsa. Tip: buy garlic pre-minced to save time and mess.

9. Barley and oats

These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities that have been found to stimulate the immune system. According to a study published in Physiology & Behavior, beta-glucan can help prime the immune system and support resistance against invading pathogens.

Barley is a great addition to soups and salads thanks to its wonderfully chewy texture, and oats can make an easy and nutritious breakfast.

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If you’re looking for a breakfast that’s ready for you when you wake up, give overnight oats with almond milk a try – a few minutes of quick prep the night before will have breakfast ready and waiting by morning.

10. Fish

Selenium, which is especially plentiful in shellfish such as oysters, lobsters, crabs and clams, helps white blood cells produce cytokines-proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body.

In addition, salmon, mackerel and herring are rich in omega-3 fats, which reduce inflammation and increase airflow, protecting lungs from colds and respiratory infections.

Mix canned salmon with half a mashed avocado, a spoonful of Dijon mustard, and a spoonful of mayonnaise to make a flavorful and nutrient-dense salmon salad that’s great in a wrap, on a sandwich or simply with crackers.

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Takeaways

Boosting your immune system with the foods that you eat is more accessible than you might think – and more important, too.

“Research shows that various nutrient deficiencies – vitamins A, C, E, B, D, selenium, zinc, iron, copper and folic acid – can increase your susceptibility to disease,” said Lydon. “In fact, malnutrition is the most common cause of immune-deficiency in the world, so making sure you’re eating adequately is key for immune health.”

Stock up on these natural illness fighters – mushrooms, sweet potatoes, almonds, yogurt, leafy greens, green and black tea, cabbage, garlic, barley and oats and fish – on your next trip to the grocery store.

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Toddler milk is ‘potentially harmful,’ AAP warns amid calls for stricter regulations

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Toddler milk is ‘potentially harmful,’ AAP warns amid calls for stricter regulations

Toddler milk products have grown into a multibillion-dollar global business, despite warnings from health authorities that the benefits of this milk formula are unproven.

The products are marketed with claims of improving brain development or immune function, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warned in an Oct. 2023 report that toddler formula is “unnecessary and potentially harmful to young children.”

“For healthy toddlers without a specific medical diagnosis, there is no evidence of a need [for] or benefit from toddler milk,” Dr. Jenelle Ferry, a neonatologist and director of feeding, nutrition and infant development at Pediatrix Medical Group in Tampa, Florida, told Fox News Digital in an interview.

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In spite of these warnings, toddler milk has grown into a $20 billion worldwide business, according to a recent report.  

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“It is disappointing that regulations have not been strengthened, given package claims and marketing messages that imply toddler milks are beneficial, or even necessary, for a toddler’s healthy growth,” Fran Fleming-Milici, PhD, director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health at the University of Connecticut, told Fox News Digital.

Toddler milk has grown into a $20 billion worldwide business, according to a recent report, even as some say that “for healthy toddlers without a specific medical diagnosis, there is no evidence of a need [for] or benefit from toddler milk.” (Getty/iStock)

Infant formula vs. toddler milk

Most infants in the U.S. receive some or all of their nutrition from formula, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Standard infant formula can be supplemented with appropriate solid foods at around 4 to 6 months of age, ensuring intake of essential nutrients like iron, calcium and zinc, the AAP said in a previous statement.

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Infant formula is regulated under The Infant Formula Act, which requires that the products meet nutritional requirements as the only source for babies through the first 12 months of age, the statement added.

If a toddler beverage is intended for infants younger than 12 months, the product must comply with the FDA’s infant formula regulations in addition to all other applicable food regulations, an FDA spokesperson told Fox News Digital. 

Toddler milk

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warned in an Oct. 2023 report that toddler formula is “unnecessary and potentially harmful to young children.” Advocates for the formula, however, feel differently.  (iStock)

There are two different types of toddler milk on the market: transition formulas for infants and toddlers 9 months to 24 months old, and toddler milk for children 12 months to 36 months age, according to a previous research report from the NYU College of Global Public Health

Unlike infant formulas, toddler milks are not nutritionally complete, experts said.

“A healthy diet for toddlers would limit excess processed foods, salt and sugar.”

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Approximately 80% of toddler milks have higher sugar content than whole milk and 100% have less protein, the AAP stated.

After toddlers are weaned off breast milk or infant formula, Ferry recommends that they drink milk and water, with the majority of their nutrients coming from solid foods.

“A healthy diet for toddlers would limit excess processed foods, salt and sugar,” she said.

Regulation of toddler milk

“Toddler beverage products intended for children 1 year and older are regulated as conventional foods and must comply with the FDA’s labeling regulations,” an FDA spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

“This includes providing the Nutrition Facts label, specifically for children 1 to 3 years of age.”

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When it comes to marketing toddler milks, manufacturers must adhere to certain rules.

Toddler milk

Most infants in the U.S. receive some or all of their nutrition from formula, according to the FDA. (iStock)

“Manufacturers cannot make claims regarding disease conditions, but can use language relating to symptoms, even if they are not supported by evidence,” he told Fox News Digital in an email.

They can claim their product is lactose-free, for example — but cannot claim that it is helpful for lactase deficiency, he said.

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“Nutrient content claims or health claims are not allowed on food products intended specifically for use by infants and children under 2 years of age unless specifically provided for by regulation,” added the FDA spokesperson.

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“In general, the product labeling must be truthful and not misleading.”

Cross-promotion in marketing and packaging

Some experts warn that infant formula and toddler milk are often marketed and packaged in a way that may lead parents to believe they are the same in terms of nutritional content.

“The cross-promotion of toddler milks with infant formula … allows for the trust caregivers have for formula brands to be transferred to a product that is not regulated, contains added sugar, and is not recommended by the AAP,” warned Fleming-Milici.

Baby food

Standard infant formula can be supplemented with appropriate solid foods at around 4 to 6 months of age, ensuring intake of essential nutrients like iron, calcium and zinc, the AAP said. (iStock)

“Research shows that these messages lead caregivers to believe toddler milks are superior to their family meals and plain cow’s milk – which is much less expensive and is what experts recommend.”

A WHO report noted that “formula milk marketing, not the product itself, disrupts informed decision-making and undermines breastfeeding and child health.” 

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Showing parents educational videos to correct misleading marketing can help to reduce sugary drink consumption in the first few years of a child’s life, Fleming-Milici’s research found.

“Exposure to the videos significantly reduced positive attitudes toward toddler milks and fruit drinks, and reduced intentions to serve both,” she told Fox News Digital.

Potential nutritional benefits

Advocates, however, argue that toddler formula is helpful to many young children who don’t get the proper nutrients in their diet.

“In general, the product labeling must be truthful and not misleading.”

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“Research demonstrates that nutrient intake for young children often falls below adequate levels for iron, vitamins D and E, calcium, choline, potassium and fiber,” a spokesperson from the Infant Nutrition Council of America (INCA) told Fox News Digital.

INCA is a Washington, D.C.-based association of manufacturers of infant formulas and toddler milks, representing brands including Abbott Nutrition, Gerber Products Company, Perrigo Nutritionals and Reckitt Benckiser.

Powdered formula

Advocates argue that toddler formula is helpful to many young children who don’t get the proper nutrients in their diet. (iStock)

“For kids 12 months to 36 months who need nutritional support, toddler nutritional drinks have been shown to contribute to nutritional intake and potentially fill nutrition gaps, as recognized globally in the international Codex Alimentarius standard,” the INCA spokesperson added.

When children need extra nutrition because of a medical condition — such as failure to thrive or an intestinal or metabolic disorder — they should receive specialty liquid nutrition rather than products marketed as toddler milk, Ferry noted.

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A spokesperson from Nestlé, which makes a variety of powdered milk products for toddlers, said in response to an earlier Fox News Digital query that the company “seeks to provide a range of foods and beverages to support consumers at all stages of life.”

toddler playing with bead maze

“National health studies indicate that U.S. toddlers have nutritional gaps in their diet often related to picky eating,”  (iStock)

The spokesperson added, “Nestlé has consistent standards that apply to our responsible marketing for products intended for babies and young children. Those standards and practices fully comply with the WHO [World Health Organization] code and follow either local law or our own policy — whichever is stricter.”

A spokesperson from Similac also submitted a statement to Fox News Digital in response to an earlier query as well. 

“National health studies indicate that U.S. toddlers have nutritional gaps in their diet often related to picky eating,” the spokesperson said. “When they don’t do well transitioning to table foods, or won’t drink milk, our toddler drinks contain many of the complementary nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that they may be missing in their diet.”

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The spokesperson also said, “Toddler drinks may be an option to help fill nutrient gaps for these children 12 to 36 months of age. Abbott does not recommend or indicate its toddler drinks for infants under 12 months of age.”

Fox News Digital also reached out to other companies that make powdered milk products for toddlers.

Parents of young children should always check with their pediatricians for the best and latest nutrition advice.

Melissa Rudy of Fox News Digital contributed reporting.  

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health

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Health weekend roundup: A mother's health mission, sleep-blocking foods, heat illnesses and more

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Health weekend roundup: A mother's health mission, sleep-blocking foods, heat illnesses and more

Fox News Digital publishes an array of health pieces all week long to keep you in the know on a range of wellness topics: health care access, innovative surgeries, cancer research, mental health trends and much more — plus, personal stories of people and families overcoming great obstacles.

Check out some top recent stories in Health as your weekend continues — and prep for the week ahead.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

These are just a few of what’s new, of course. 

There are many more to see at http://www.foxnews/health

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Utah mom fights for her daughter’s access to ‘life-saving’ medication

For Ruby Smart, 15, Levemir is the insulin medication that works best to control her type 1 diabetes — but the manufacturer is discontinuing it. 

Alison Smart is on a mission to protect her daughter’s access to the drug. Click here to get the story.

Utah mother Alison Smart (in green sweater, pictured with Ruby Smart, age 15) is fighting for her teenage daughter’s access to diabetes medicine. (Alison Smart/iStock)

CDC warns of extreme heat dangers

Is extreme heat a public health threat? 

Fox News Digital reports the findings in the latest Mortality & Morbidity Report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including a spike in emergency room visits due to heat-related illness. Doctors chime in on the potential risk. Click here to get the story.

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Thermometer - heat wave

Many regions across the United States experienced “record-breaking high temperatures” in 2023 due to extreme heat, according to the CDC. (iStock)

Surprising reason for sleep struggles

If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, you might be overlooking one important lifestyle factor. 

Two sleep specialists reveal essential ingredients for high-quality sleep. Click here to get the story.

Snacks/insomnia

What you eat can have an impact on how well you sleep at night, experts say. (iStock)

The girl who can’t smile

Tayla Clement, 26, was born with a rare disorder that has made it impossible for her to smile — but she says she is grateful for it. 

The New Zealand woman discusses with Fox News Digital how she overcame trauma and learned to celebrate her differences. Click here to get the story.

Tayla Clement split image

Tayla Clement, born and raised in New Zealand, has Moebius syndrome, a neurological disease that affects one child out of every 50,000 to 500,000. (Tayla Clement)

‘Forever chemicals’ found in water across US

A new study found that higher amounts of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances) were found in drinking water in certain parts of the U.S. 

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Public health experts weigh in on the risks of the toxic chemicals. Click here to get the story.

Happy beautiful young woman drinking water

PFAS “hot spots” were concentrated in the Midwest, New England and the West Coast, the researchers found. (iStock)

Pick-me-ups to beat the midday slump

Is the “post-lunch coma” slowing down your productivity? 

A nutritional biologist shares six proven energy-boosters to to prevent post-meal fatigue. Click here to get the story.

Health weekend recap

This week’s health recap includes stories about heat hazards, a mother’s fight for her daughter’s diabetes medication, and a little-known disruption of healthy sleep. (iStock / Alison Smart)

Drinking pure orange juice is linked to surprising benefits

A new study found that people who drank 100% orange juice consumed fewer calories than those who drank a sugar-sweetened orange beverage. 

Nutritionists reacted to the findings. Click here to get the story.

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Americans need more sleep and less stress

Many U.S. adults are getting too little sleep and have too much stress, according to a new Gallup poll. 

Dr. Marc Siegel of New York and a sleep expert and behavioral scientist discuss the connection between disordered sleep and dangerous stress levels. Click here to get the story.

Tired woman at computer

The poll showed that 63% of Americans who reported wanting more sleep also “frequently experience stress.” (iStock)

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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'Xena: Warrior Princess' — See the Cast of This Hit Series Then and Now!

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'Xena: Warrior Princess' — See the Cast of This Hit Series Then and Now!



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Xena Warrior Princess Cast, See Them Then and Now! | Woman’s World
























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