The biggest factor driving depression

When you’re deeply depressed, overcoming it can seem impossible…

That terrible depressed feeling consumes your body, mind and spirit, so it’s hard to imagine feeling better.

But there is a simple way to help yourself. It’s a change you can make today that will put you on the path to a more peaceful, happier mind…

It’s eating healthy.

I know, it sounds too simple…

It’s easy to underestimate the power of a healthy diet, especially when you’re dealing with something that feels as awful as depression. But diet changes can be for more helpful for depression than you probably ever realized…

In fact, recent research from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia found that eating healthy is the most powerful way to prevent depression…

A healthy diet douses depression

Researchers from Swinburne University of Technology recently developed The Risk Index for Depression (RID). This index uses demographic, clinical and laboratory data to determine which factors are putting people most at risk for depression. The goal of the index is to help people who are at risk for depression change their destiny…

“The RID is about prevention,” said Swinburne lecturer Dr. Joanna Dipnall, who developed the index. “It aims to identify individuals with a predisposition to depression as well as which is the key determinant that would reduce this risk.”

According to the index, there is one factor that influences your depression risk more than any other—what you put on your plate every day. After diet, researchers found that sleep and exercise were the next risk factors most closely linked to depression.

Basically, researchers determined that people who were eating lousy diets, not exercising and living erratic, sleep-deprived lifestyles were most likely to end up depressed. That sounds about right. There’s nothing like an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle and ongoing sleep issues to put you in a bad place.

Researchers believe diet in particular is so closely linked to depression because of its effect on your gut health. If you’ve been following health news in recent years, you’ve seen all the studies connecting the bacteria in your gut to a bunch of mental health issues, including depression.

Adopting an anti-depression diet

Now, there’s one question you still need answered if you want to win the battle against your depression…

What exactly should you eat?

Luckily, researchers gave a few clues about what foods make you depressed and what foods promote a well-balanced, happy mood.

Researchers say a diet rich in fiber is associated with a lower depression risk, for example. That may have something to do with the fact that fiber feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut. More specifically, researchers recommend a fiber-rich diet filled with leafy greens, vegetables and whole grains if you want to defend yourself from depression. Probiotics can also help you fix your gut to fix your mood.

Alternatively, researchers say unhealthy diets filled with processed food and high-fat dairy are tied to an increased depression risk. So you’ll want to avoid those dietary pitfalls to keep depression at bay.

If you’re looking for a complete diet plan with all the rules and guidelines spelled out for your, try the Mediterranean diet. It’s been tied to a happier, healthier, less depressed brain in more than one study.


  1. Healthy food is key to a healthy mind — Swinburne University of Technology. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  2. F. Dipnall, et al. “Getting RID of the blues: Formulating a Risk Index for Depression (RID) using structural equation modeling.” — Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2017.
  3. Clinical Trial Finds Diet Works for Depression — Psychology Today. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and