Having been a runner-up at two of the three Triple Crown events, and having reached the final at both the 2018 Masters and the 2020 World Snooker Championship, Wilson’s bid for glory at the World Championship couldn’t be more well deserved. Despite worrying fans with recent hints about possible retirement, in order to spend more time with his family, the 30-year-old has also spoken about how he maintains his health during tournaments, and why he thinks it is down to nutrition that gives him an extra boost.
Speaking back in 2021, Wilson said: “Because my brother is a personal trainer – he’s well aware of nutrition.
“It’s just trying to help me with that extra five percent.
“It’s such a long tournament and it takes so much out of you, that you have to give yourself the best chance.
“If you’re going to be on fast food and alcohol for two weeks, then good luck!”
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Eating a well-balanced and healthy diet ensures that individuals will have enough energy to keep active throughout the day, as well as getting all the nutrients needed for growth and repair.
The NHS stresses that this is essential to help individuals prevent diet-related illnesses and some cancers. In addition, deficiencies in some key nutrients – such as vitamin A, B, C and E, and zinc, iron and selenium – can weaken parts of your immune system.
In short, the benefits of eating a healthy diet include the following:
- May help you live longer
- Keeps skin, teeth, and eyes healthy
- Supports muscles
- Boosts immunity
- Strengthens bones
- Lowers risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers
- Supports healthy pregnancies and breastfeeding
- Helps the digestive system function
- Helps achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
There are also many health benefits for children too, including brain development and strengthening bones.
Another English snooker player who takes a keen interest in his health and diet, in order to keep on top of his game is Michael Holt, who added: “It’s all about personal preference. I lift weights because that’s what I enjoy.
“I have tried running but I didn’t enjoy it. But I believe that being in good shape will help anyone and give them more confidence in everything they do.
“The best player in the world is Ronnie O’Sullivan and he’s also one of the fittest – that’s not coincidence.”
In fact, O’Sullivan is so passionate about eating the right things that in 2019 he released a recipe book. While promoting Top of Your Game, the world number one said: “I truly believe what you eat keeps you young.
“There are kids half my age competing and they can’t concentrate because they eat rubbish and never put down their phones! It’s all about eating great food, pacing yourself, recuperating and knowing your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
“The biggest gains are made when you fuel yourself well, exercise regularly and you rest – thinking this way has changed my life.”
According to the Eatwell Guide, individuals that want to follow a healthy, balanced diet should try to do the following:
- Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- Base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
- Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
- Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
- Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
- Drink plenty of fluids (at least six to eight glasses a day).
- Although this might sound difficult, the NHS explains that five portions of fruit and vegetables is not as hard as it may sound. For example, one portion could consist of 80 grams of fresh, canned or frozen fruit, 30 grams of dried fruit and a 150ml glass of fruit juice or smoothie.
A slice of pineapple or melon is also one portion, and three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion.
A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy can help to reduce your risk of heart disease by maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If left unmonitored, high blood pressure and cholesterol can lead to potentially life-threatening health conditions such as heart attack or stroke.
Eating a portion of oily fish – such as salmon and trout – each week can also help to lower your risk of developing heart disease. The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish are good for heart health.
In addition, a diet rich in calcium keeps teeth and bones strong and can help to slow bone loss (osteoporosis), conditions which are associated with getting older. Calcium is usually associated with dairy products, but individuals can also get calcium by eating:
- Sardines, pilchards or tinned salmon (with bones)
- Dark green vegetables – such as kale and broccoli
- Calcium-fortified foods – such as soya products, fruit juices and cereals.
Having a good variety of these foods every day leaves less room for foods that are high in fat and sugar – a leading cause of weight gain, putting individuals at risk of health conditions. It is also important to consider exercise, as together with exercise, eating a healthy diet in the right proportions can help to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.