Andrew Whitworth

AP Photo/Kyusung Gong, File

  • Andrew Whitworth, 40, is now the oldest player in the NFL after Tom Brady’s retirement.

  • Whitworth is playing a key position for the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl, and is a captain.

  • His lifestyle and diet to get to this point at his age requires discipline.

Andrew Whitworth became the oldest player in the NFL when Tom Brady announced his retirement on February 1. As the starting left tackle for the Los Angeles Rams, and a team captain, Whitworth will have to play his own Brady-like role in Super Bowl LVI, as his performance at a key position will largely influence the outcome of the game.

The 40-year-old offensive tackle started his career on the team he will face in the Super Bowl, the Cincinnati Bengals, where Whitworth played his first 11 NFL seasons.

Then, in March 2017, at 35 years old Whitworth was let go by the Bengals. Some contending teams including the New York Giants reportedly avoided signing Whitworth over concerns of his age — offensive linemen take plenty of blows, increasing the risk of injury, especially for older players.

But the Rams took a chance on the veteran, and he’s been a key player for the last four years. Whitworth was determined to stay the course, and followed Brady’s example by adopting a strict lifestyle regimen to extend his career, according to Rams’ head physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

“He said that this is the best shape he’s ever been in,” ElAttrache said of Whitworth. “He’s very conscious of what he eats and how he takes care of himself. And if he wasn’t in that kind of maintained physical condition, there’s no way he could do what he’s doing at 40. You saw that with Tom Brady.”

ElAttrache added that Whitworth follows a regimen comparable to the one Brady outlined in his 2017 book “The TB12 Method,” but slightly less strict.

Whitworth gets his blood tested to find out which foods his body is sensitive too

Whitworth does not follow any popular diets, but rather uses blood testing to understand which foods he’s more sensitive to and should avoid, ElAttrache said.

“He’s worked with some nutritionists and they’ve found what kind of foods are inflammatory for him, which ones are better tolerated, which ones he metabolizes better,” ElAttrache said.

Whitworth isn’t the only pro athlete to use this approach. Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, 25, previously told Insider that he gets his blood tested to pinpoint which foods are most beneficial to his health too. US Olympic track cyclist Sarah Hammer and ultramarathoner Crystal Seaver do it as well.

Like Brady, Whitworth avoids alcohol and nightshade vegetables

Whitworth follows many of the same dietary restrictions as Brady, according to ElAttrache.

Two of the most important high-commitment restrictions that Whitworth follows are against nightshade vegetables and alcohol.

Nightshade plants include tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers, and are different because they contain lower amounts of alkaloids, which are anti-inflammatory than other fruits and vegetables, according to WebMD.

Alcohol, which ultimately turns into sugar in the bloodstream, can be harmful to the body of an aging pro athlete, as it is linked to weight gain, increased blood pressure, and dehydration according to Healthline, which severely increases the risk of injury.

Read the original article on Insider