NFL Player Who Has Never Been Injured Shares High-Protein Fasting Diet


  • NFL star Ndamukong Suh has not missed a game to injury in his entire 12-year NFL career. 
  • The 35-year-old, 315 lb player maintains his durability through a strict lifestyle. 
  • Suh’s daily routine includes intermittent fasting, kombucha, and a high-protein diet.

NFL star Ndamukong Suh has managed to stay injury-free for his entire 12-year NFL career, and has done so at a weight of 315 lbs.

The 35-year-old defensive tackle has started all 16 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year and continues to play at a high level in his late 30s, and he credits his strict lifestyle for his longevity. 

Suh said he follows a variety of wellness practices, including intermittent fasting, drinking kombucha every day, and a high-protein low-carb diet in an interview with GQ

“When I started to take a holistic approach to my training, that’s when I saw big payoffs,” he told GQ. “We really take a holistic approach as we go throughout a week.”

Suh only eats at certain times of day

As a follower of intermittent fasting, Suh follows a schedule that switches between periods of eating and periods of fasting. It’s an eating strategy that doesn’t put limits on what you eat, but rather when you eat.

Intermittent fasting has been popularized as a

weight loss

technique, but for Suh, who maintains his 315-lb frame to be an effective defensive lineman, that isn’t necessarily his objective. 

One benefit associated with intermittent fasting is reduced inflammation, a focus for professional athletes trying to avoid injury. 

Ndamukong Suh chasing Carson Wentz

Ndamukong Suh chasing Colts quarterback Carson Wentz

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When your body is in a fasted state, your glucose reserves are next to empty, which may reduce painful inflammationAndrew Wang, MD, a professor of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine, previously told Insider. Wang said the body produces less inflammation when burning ketones compared to glucose. Some studies have found that diets that promote ketosis can also alleviate inflammatory pain. 

Another potential benefit Suh gets from intermittent fasting is improved cognitive function — a key quality for older players who are not as nimble and fast as younger ones. A small 2016 study which tested amateur weightlifters after a 48-hour fast found that the those who fasted had improved “mental flexibility,” which was defined as participants’ ability to quickly and efficiently switch between tasks, according to the researchers.

He emphasizes protein, vegetables, and kombucha

Suh’s eating period comes around mid day, so lunch and a pre-lunch snack are his biggest meals, according to GQ.

For his pre-lunch snack, Suh will eat almond butter, hard boiled eggs, parfaits, and trail mix, which are all dense in protein. 

Suh said kombucha — a probiotic-rich, low-sugar alternative to soda — is also regularly featured in his pre-lunch snack. Kombucha is a fermented tea made by adding sugar and yeast to black or green tea.

The probiotics in kombucha can establish themselves in your gut and help the healthy bacteria in your digestive system digest and absorb other nutrients, Vanessa Rissetto, RDN, co-founder of Culina Health, previously told Insider.

Suh said his most common lunch is low-carb, like a salad with chicken or vegetables.


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