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Using Food to Improve Mood from Intermountain Health

Annalisa Freire, RDN at Intermountain Health, shares tips on using diet to reducing the risk of depression.

(PRUnderground) September 3rd, 2023

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 you or a loved one is looking for mental well-being help, contact Intermountain’s free Behavioral Health Navigation Line at 833-442-2211. If someone is in danger of hurting themselves, contact the National Suicide Lifeline at #988.

For more information:

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see

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