Neil Ruddock health: Former footballer was warned he could ‘die any minute’

Neil Ruddock played premier league football for clubs such as Milwall, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, Liverpool and West Ham United over 17 years. During his career, he had various bust-ups on the pitch, which gained him the nickname Neil “Razor” Ruddock. He was even voted the 17th “hardest footballer of all time”, in one poll.


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The years following his retirement proved Neil was far from bulletproof, however.

The ex-England defender had doubled his body weight from 12-and-a-half to 25 stone thanks to takeaways and crisps when his playing days ended.

His wake-up call came after he was put through his paces on ITV show Harry’s Heroes.

The Premier League player was warned that he could “die any minute” if he carried on eating fatty foods and he struggled to play football on-screen alongside other ex-England stars because he had put on so much weight, ripping his shorts and struggling to fit through the turnstiles.

Dr Enam Abood told him on the show: “If I don’t intervene, you are at a risk of having a heart attack and a stroke. Razor, you cannot afford to take this lightly please.”

The advice struck a chord with Neil: “It wasn’t nice to get a load of bad test results – my cholesterol was up, my blood pressure was high – so I knew I had to do something about my health.

“Losing my former Spurs teammate Justin Edinburgh so tragically this summer also made me realise that nobody really knows what’s happening inside their body, so everyone should try to make healthy improvements to their life where they can.”

Neil heeded the warning, ditched the junk food diet and lost a stone-and-a-half.

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He said: “Fortunately Musclefood came along at just the right time for me and I’ve dropped around 10kg since starting their diet and exercise plan.

“My cholesterol is ten times better too, my blood pressure is back to normal now and I’ve also gained muscle by doing upper body exercises and weight training.”

The risks posed by high cholesterol and high blood pressure

High cholesterol and high blood pressure are similar in their pernicious effects.

Both contribute to your risk of heart disease by narrowing your arteries.


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Eventually, this can cause a blockage that can trigger a heart attack so it is important to keep both at bay.

How to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure

There are several ways you can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

A simple tip is to limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than six grams (0.2oz) a day as too much salt will increase your blood pressure, warns the NHS.

You should also shun foods high in saturated fat.

As the NHS warns, foods high in saturated fat will increase the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood.

Foods high in saturated fat include:

  • Meat pies
  • Sausages and fatty cuts of meat
  • Butter
  • Ghee – a type of butter often used in Indian cooking
  • Lard
  • Cream
  • Hard cheese
  • Cakes and biscuits
  • Foods that contain coconut or palm oil

“However, a balanced diet should still include unsaturated fats, which have been shown to increase levels of good cholesterol and help reduce any blockage in your arteries,” explains the NHS.

Foods high in unsaturated fat include:

  • Oily fish
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Sunflower, rapeseed, olive and vegetable oils

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