An office worker’s guide to reducing inflammation

Office workers today are prime candidates for unnecessary low-grade inflammation in the body, whether they know it or not. This short article will highlight some of the dangers from preventable inflammation and give simple tips for to avoid inflammation altogether. As they say “prevention is better than the cure,” so why wait for it to become a problem?

What is inflammation? And why should I care about it? 

Inflammation is a vital healing mechanism in the body and without it, we wouldn’t survive. There are two types of inflammation – acute and chronic. (4) Acute inflammation is the body’s response to heal, for example, the swelling of an ankle after a sprain. Basically, it’s when cells become damaged usually by an external stimulus such as irritants, pathogens, impact injuries and allergies. Chronic inflammation on the other hand is longer term and can be the result of diseases such as autoimmune, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis and other preventable lifestyle factors. Excess body fat, bad food choices, lack of physical activity and prolonged high levels of stress can also promote chronic inflammation. (3-5)

The main reason why you should care about reducing chronic inflammation is because it’s linked with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression and cancer.

Why should office workers be concerned?

Generally the lifestyle of an office worker dictates 9 to 10 hours of sitting, plus convenient food choices in office precincts make it challenging without forward planning. The humble sandwich with processed meats is generally the quick and easy option to choose at lunch, and this can increase inflammation with little effort. Inactivity, stress and poor food choices are the three bullets for corporates that will increase inflammation levels.

Here are 4 tips to help keep your inflammation levels low and in check:

Choose fish on the menu and supplement with Omega 3s. Omega 3s are ainflammation naturally-occurring substance which have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Fish oils can actually be used in some circumstances to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and help with insulin sensitivity for pre-diabetics. (1, 6) Please note, fish oil supplementations have been shown to be much more effective than flaxseed oil and other vegetable sources of Omega 3s

Lift something heavy on a regular basis. Weight training has been showninflammation to lower oxidative inflammation. (2) Not only that, but it can also reduce the
risks of a number of diseases including type 2 diabetes, obesity, sarcopenia (muscle loss) and osteoporosis. Strength training can also improve energy levels and increase libido. (8)

Eat your greens, blues, reds and purples. Eating all the listed colours of inflammationvegetables and berry varieties (especially raspberries), have powerful antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help reduce inflammation and can treat arthritis.

 

Avoid highly processed foods. Processed foods containing high amounts of trans fats/ omega 6-s and high fructose corn syrup increase inflammation and inflammatory conditions in the body. (7) If you don’t know what the source of the food you’re eating is, then chances are it’s processed and you should try to avoid it.

In conclusion, skip the Twinkies, eat fishes with some berries and lift something heavy for lower inflammation!

Adam

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References: 

  1. Adam O, Beringer C, Kless T, Lemmen C, Adam A, Wiseman M, Adam P, Klimmek R, and Forth W. Anti-inflammatory effects of a low arachidonic acid diet and fish oil in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology international 23: 27-36, 2003.
  2. Çakir-Atabek H, Demir S, PinarbaSili RD, and Gündüz N. Effects of different resistance training intensity on indices of oxidative stress. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 24: 2491-2497, 2010.
  3. Kawasaki N, Asada R, Saito A, Kanemoto S, and Imaizumi K. Obesity-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress causes chronic inflammation in adipose tissue. Scientific reports 2: 2012.
  4. Martini F, Bartholomew EF, Garrison CW, Hutchings RT, Nath JL, Ober WC, and Welch K. Fundamentals of anatomy & physiology / Frederic H. Martini, Judi L. Nath, Edwin F. Bartholomew ; William C. Ober, art coordinator and illustrator ; Claire W. Garrisson, illustrator ; Kathleen Welch, clinical consultant ; Ralph T. Hutchings, biomedical photgrapher. San Francisco, Calif. : Pearson/Benjamin Cummings, c2012. 9th ed., 2012.
  5. Monteiro R, and Azevedo I. Chronic inflammation in obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Mediators of inflammation 2010: 2010.
  6. Talukdar S, Bae EJ, Imamura T, Morinaga H, Fan W, Li P, Lu WJ, Watkins SM, and Olefsky JM. GPR120 is an omega-3 fatty acid receptor mediating potent anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing effects. Cell 142: 687-698, 2010.
  7. Teng K-T, Voon P-T, Cheng H-M, and Nesaretnam K. Effects of partially hydrogenated, semi-saturated, and high oleate vegetable oils on inflammatory markers and lipids. Lipids 45: 385-392, 2010.
  8. Zitzmann M, and Nieschlag E. Testosterone levels in healthy men and the relation to behavioural and physical characteristics: facts and constructs. European Journal of Endocrinology 144: 183-197, 2001.

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