“We utilised a large database from the U.S. which has a huge amount of information about people’s diet, lifestyle and self-reported medical symptoms,” Dipnall said.
“We spent time compartmentalising each of the risk determinants for depression, which include diet, lifestyle, environs, biomarkers and somatic symptoms, and for each of those we put into a probability of depression and built this into a structural model of the RID to see if we could determine an overall risk of depression and isolate the important elements.
“What we found confirms that depression is not a simple condition — it is complicated and multifaceted. It confirms that diet is one of the most important to asses the risk of depression. Diet has a direct path.”
In the research, under each main risk determinant there are predicted probabilities of depression. Lifestyle included sleep, weight and exercise; demographics included gender, rage and age; biomarkers included red cell distribution risk; somatic symptoms included pain, bowels and thyroid; and diet included fruit, vegetable and whole grain intake.
A key finding from the research is that a person is more likely to become depressed if their diet is poor, their lifestyle is erratic and they do not exercise.