Intermountain Healthcare

Using Food to Improve Mood


Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/15/2021 --Mental wellness can be affected by many things, some beyond an individual's control like work, relations, or even global pandemics. But studies show that nutrition can also have positive impact on mental wellness.

"There is research supporting that nutrition affects our mental health – especially depression," said Annalisa Freire, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Intermountain Spanish Fork Hospital. "This year that message is more important than ever as we are all looking to overcome the mental effects of COVID."

There are many simple ways an individual can change what they eat to make a difference in their mental health. Because everybody's diet is different, Freire states it is important to choose ways to change diet that are realistic and appealing to the individual. She does not recommend making drastic changes or withholding favorite foods, as those actions are not sustainable.

Here are some simple diet adjustments that can lower the risk of depression:

1. Work fruits and vegetables into daily routines. For example, prepare fresh produce right after the trip to the grocery store so it's ready for snacks and meals. Or, buy frozen or canned produce, which are both budget friendly and convenient.

2. Consider changing grains intake from refined to whole grain options. Look for labels stating "100% whole wheat" or "100% whole grain." Brown rice, quinoa, barley and other grains are other great examples.

3. Eat fish or other seafood several times a week.

4. Choose dairy products that are low-fat or fat-free (milk, cheese, and yogurt).

5. When cooking with fats, use unsaturated fats (oils) more often than saturated fats (shortening and butter).

If individuals are aware of someone that needs immediate support -- or needs help themselves -- they are encouraged to contact the Utah Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255, 24/7). Intermountain also provides a free Behavioral Health Navigation Line (833-442-2211) seven days a week, from 7 am to 7 pm, and Connect Care for Behavioral Health also allows virtual visits with providers.

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About Intermountain Spanish Fork Hospital
Intermountain Spanish Fork Hospital is part of Intermountain Healthcare, a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,700 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see Intermountain Healthcare or the Intermountain Healthcare Blog.