Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Eating Healthy According to the Qur’an & Sunnah
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from an article by Karima Burns. Modern Muslims often turn to books and magazines to find out what foods will make them healthy, however, the Qur’an and hadits have provided the Muslim community with many ideas of foods that should be included in the ideal diet.
The Qur’an mentions many fruits and vegetables as well as meat, milk and many spices among the foods Muslims can enjoy and thrive on. Among some of the fruits and vegetables mentioned in the Qur’an and hadits are melons, grapes, citrus, squash, figs and dates.
In them will be Fruits, and dates and pomegranates: (Surah ar-Rahman:68)
Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) states that melons were amongst one of the fruits most often eaten by the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). In fact, the melon is one of the best recommendations for health that the Prophet (s.a.w.) has given us. The melon is one of the few fruits and vegetables rich in both vitamin C and Beta-Carotene. In addition, half a melon contains 825 milligrams of potassium. The body uses potassium to help eliminate excess sodium, which in large amounts can cause blood pressure to rise.
In fact, in an international study of more than 10,000 people, researchers found that those with the highest potassium levels had the lowest blood pressures. In addition, potassium helps keep the body's LDL (dangerous cholesterol) from sticking to the artery walls.
Melons also provide a very rare nutrient called folate, a B vitamin, which is essential in combating birth defects and heart disease. Prevention's New Foods for Healing Guide mentions a study of almost 4,000 mothers that revealed that those who got enough folate were 60% less likely to have children with brain and spinal cord defects.
The melon contains 1,000 Blessings and 1,000 Mercies. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said "None of your women who are pregnant and eat of water melon will fail to produce offspring who are good in countenance and good in character.”
Additionally, men can benefit from folate too. Folate controls the levels of a chemical called homocysteine in the body, which when allowed to exist in excess can contribute to artery clogging and thus heart disease.
Citrus is also a favoured fruit of the Qur’an and hadits. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). had said, "The parable of a believer who reads the Qur’an regularly is like that of a citrus it has a good taste and a good fragrance". Similarly, just as the Qur’an will provide a healthy spiritual life, the citrus fruits can provide a healthy physical life for the believer.
In fact, all citrus are packed with many valuable nutrients. Most famous of these is vitamin C. Vitamin C is famed for its powerful antioxidant properties. This means that it disarms powerful oxygen molecules in the body that contribute to cancer and heart disease. The body also uses vitamin C to manufacture collagen; the substance that glues cells together and is essential for healing. A large lemon contains about 75 percent of the body’s daily requirement vitamin C. In addition, substances dubbed limonene and limonese have been found to block some of the cellular changes that can lead to cancer.
Oranges are perhaps the most universally known sources of vitamin C but, in fact, fruits like the kiwi and berry contain more vitamin C than an orange. Researchers have found that although oranges are a valuable source of vitamin C, this vitamin accounts for only about 15% of the total healing activity in an orange. Oranges actually have much more to offer. Hesperidin, found in oranges has been found by Brazilian researchers to stop inflammation without damaging the stomach lining as aspirin can.
In the Medicine of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), it is also mentioned that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.), loved grapes and melons. Although alcohol is forbidden, the Qur’an mentions grapes alone six times. In fact, grape juice has recently been found to be an important source of flavanoids that can lower risk for cancer, lower cholesterol, prevent hardening of the arteries and fight heart disease.
Squash is among the vegetables mentioned by the prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). A hadits from Swahih al-Bukhari quotes that ibn Malik (r.a.) said, "A tailor invited the Prophet (s.a.w.) to a meal that he had prepared, and I went along with the Prophet (s.a.w.). The tailor presented barley bread and soup containing gourd and cured meat. I saw the Prophet (s.a.w.) picking the pieces of gourd from around the dish, and since then I have kept on liking gourd."
Scientists have found that people who have more vitamin C in the diets over time have fewer lung ailments as the vitamin gets transported to the lining of the lung as serves as an antioxidant there.
Even dried fruits are beneficial according to the Qur’an and hadits. The Prophet (s.a.w.) mentioned figs and then stated, "If I had to mention a fruit that descended from Paradise I would say this is it because the fruits of Paradise do not have pits. Eat from these fruits for they prevent haemorrhoids, prevent piles and help gout." This is recorded in Swahih al-Bukhari.
Figs are a top source of fiber, as well as potassium and vitamin B6. Fiber results in bulkier stools, which lessen the incidence of constipation, haemorrhoids and colon cancer. Fiber also lowers cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. A Harvard University study of 43,757 men ages 40 to 75 found that those who got the most fiber had about half the risk of getting a heart attack as those who got the least. Furthermore, men who added just 10 grams of fiber a day to their diet, approximately 6 figs, lowered their incidence of heart disease by 30%. This could also be why fibrous dates are another favoured food of the Prophet (s.a.w.) who was recorded in Swahih al-Bukhari to have said, "Whoever takes seven 'ajwa dates in the morning will not be effected by magic or poison on that day." The Prophet (s.a.w.) also said, "There is a tree among the trees which is similar to a Muslim in goodness, and that is the date palm tree."
As Muslims, we are wise to include these foods in our diet. Allah (s.a.w.) has blessed us with many good foods and in the Qur’an it Says:
…"Eat of the good things We have provided for you"... (Surah al-A'araf:160)