TODAY at 11: Nutritionist shares tips, recipes to boost your immune system

With cold and flu cases on the rise, you may be looking for ways to boost your immune system.
With cold and flu cases on the rise, you may be looking for ways to boost your immune system.(Rebecca Turner)
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 11:12 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - With cold and flu cases on the rise, you may be looking for ways to boost your immune system. Everyone should want to take precautions within their control to keep a robust and responsive immune system, according to Rebecca Turner, a registered dietitian.

But beware, Turner says there is no magic pill, powder, or potion that will ensure an everlasting healthy defense.

“Like all barriers, it will weaken over time (as you age) and with low maintenance, and even the best defensives can have weak spots and down days. Your immune system is no different. But, regardless of your age or health status, there are simple, everyday things you can do to give your immune system a fighting chance,” she said.

Here are 3 tips:

  • Stay hydrated

As the weather gets colder, you tend to hydrate less. Leaving your skin dry, your energy low, and your immune system weaker. Drinking enough fluids each day can help you feel more energized and fight off infections. Hydration helps your body keep harmful bacteria out and helps your immune system work to its full potential. Plus, staying adequately hydrated supports your gut’s absorption of the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

  • Eat wholesome foods

It seems straightforward, but how often are we forgoing good nutrition for convenient food options? Sure, you could take a vitamin C supplement, but you would be missing out on all the other immune-boosting nutrients found in whole foods like vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and protein, to name a few. Cook with spices like ginger and turmeric, and sweeten things with honey, which may enhance immunity.

  • Self-care

Sleep strengthens your immune system, and studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick after exposure to a virus, such as the common cold. Moderate exercise can also enhance your immune system and ability to fall asleep faster. Try adding a 30-minute walk to your daily routine or stretching every few hours. Aim for 7-9 hours a night when possible and practice sleep-promoting habits like unplugging before bed and cutting out caffeine later in the day.

Turner shared two recipes on Today at 11:

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup


● 2 tablespoons butter

● 1 tablespoon olive oil

● 1 yellow onion, chopped

● 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

● 2 celery stalks, chopped

● 2 cloves garlic, minced

● Kosher salt to taste

● Freshly ground black pepper to taste

● 1 tablespoon tomato paste

● 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

● 1 tablespoon cumin

● 1 tablespoon dried or fresh thyme leaves

● 1 (15-ounce) jar of roasted red peppers, drained

● 1 (14.5-ounce) can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes

● 3 cups chicken broth

● 1 (5-ounce) container of plain Greek yogurt

● 1⁄2 cup half-and-half

● 1⁄2 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved, plus more for garnishing


1. Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery, and sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and sauté until just fragrant. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste, paprika, cumin, and thyme, and cook for 2 more minutes.

2. Add drained red peppers, tomatoes, and chicken broth. Let simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender and flavors have melded together. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Using either a hand-held immersion blender or a regular blender, puree until smooth. Add Greek yogurt, half-and-half, and Parmesan cheese. Stir until combined and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

3. Serve in soup bowls and top with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Mango Protein Smoothie

Mango Protein Smoothie
Mango Protein Smoothie(Rebecca Turner, Nutritionist)


● 1 6-ounce container of Greek yogurt

● 3⁄4 cup milk

● 1 cup mango pieces frozen

● 1 tbsp honey

● 1 tsp turmeric fresh grated

● 1⁄4 tsp ginger fresh grated


1. Combine yogurt, milk, mango, and the remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Recipes provided by Mississippi Dairy Farm Families

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