The importance of health and wellbeing has been communicated time and again in the Holy Quran and reinforced by the practices of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) said: “There are two blessings which many people do not appreciate: health and leisure.” (Sahih al-Bukhari) As diseases become more common, people are looking for ways to reduce the risks. For this purpose, people have resorted to mindful eating. Dietary changes do indeed prevent, improve and in some cases, cure the disease. The importance of mindful eating can be evidenced from the following verses of Surah al-Baqarah: “And make not your own hands contribute to (your) own destruction (harm).” (2:195) and “O mankind! Eat of what is lawful and good on earth.” (2:168).
The nutritional value of eating ‘Sunnah foods’ has proved to play an important role in ensuring good health and building a strong immune system that helps prevent diseases.
When Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqas fell ill, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) went to visit him and said: “'You are suffering from heart sickness. Go to al-Harith Ibn Kaladah, brother of Thaqif, for treatment. He is a man who gives medical treatment. He will give you seven ajwa dates of Madinah, grind them with their kernels, add milk and oil, and then you should eat them.” (Abu Dawud, Tibb 12).
Dates not only boast of many vital nutrients but are fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free. They are rich in vitamin A and numerous B-complex vitamins necessary for building healthy body tissues and muscles. Dates also contain minerals, including magnesium, iron, phosphorous, copper, calcium and potassium, which help boost metabolic activity and digestion. Dates also contain iron, which helps the body produce more hemoglobin. Dates have vitamin C and fiber, which help the body absorb iron properly. The minerals present in dates contain enzymes that help the body balance its PH level. Several studies have shown that dates can protect the liver from chemicals or medicines that cause hepatorenal toxicity and poisoning. Dates have a low Glycemic Index (GI) because they contain a lot of fructose, which is sweeter and less diabetogenic than glucose.
Dates can be consumed before and after delivery to help strengthen uterine muscles. Date consumption has been known to aid in the softening of cervix and the reduction of the requirement for oxytocin and prostaglandins to induce labour, resulting in a more favourable birth outcome. Dates are a good source of minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, fiber and antioxidants. Dates protect intestines from harmful bacteria, which results in a healthy digestive system. This ultimately reduces the risk of colon cancer. vitamins E and A in dates help inhibit the growth of some cancerous tumors. The antioxidant effects of Vitamin A also helps prevent cancer metastasis, particularly in cervical cancer. Vitamin C also aids against lung and breast cancer. The metallic elements in dates also help stop cancer metastasis.
The word pomegranate is mentioned three times in the Holy Quran. In Surah Al-An'am Allah says: “It is He who has brought into being gardens — the trellised and untrellised — and the palm trees, and crops, all varying in taste, and the olive and pomegranates, all resembling one another and yet so different. Eat of their fruits when they ripen and pay His due on the day of harvesting. And do not exceed the proper limits, for He does not love those who exceed the proper limits.”
Bu Ali Sina, an Iranian physician wrote that pomegranates are fruits that have many medicinal properties like blocking the bleeding of gums and strengthening them. Pomegranate powder cures old and chronic wounds, and is useful for treating of liver diseases. Pomegranate's high polyphenol content has of neuroprotective properties that aid in the enhancement of memory functions. It also helps prevent Alzheimer's disease. Consumption of concentrated pomegranate juice is known to reduce the cholesterol levels in Type 2 diabetes patients with hyperlipidemia. Regular consumption of pomegranate juice also helps in reducing blood pressure. Various genes and proteins that prevent cancer growth and progression can be stimulated by pomegranate. Prevention of breast, colon, liver, skin and blood malignancies have all been linked to pomegranate intake.
Grape juice has been found to be an important source of flavonoids that contain anti-inflammatory and anti-endothelial functions, which may help to reduce arterial stiffness and help control blood pressure and cholesterol. They also help in lowering the risk of cancer. Grapes are rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin K, which are important for bones.
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Use this Black Seed regularly, because it is a cure for every disease, except death.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Black seeds are known for their miraculous healing abilities and are traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments. Thymoquinone is the main ingredient of black seeds, which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that is also known to have tumor-reducing properties and is used to treat a number of tumors and inflammations. Black seeds in a diabetic’s diet can help with fasting and daily intake of black seed extract is known to improve blood pressure. They are also effective in treating chronic inflammatory and autoimmune illnesses. Research also suggests that one gram of crushed black seed twice daily before meals can reduce cholesterol and blood fats in some people.
Figs are packed with nutrients and offer a variety of potential health benefits. They promote healthy digestion, reduce the risk of heart disease and help manage blood sugar level. Fresh figs have antioxidant vitamins like A, E, and K. The phytochemical compounds in figs protect the body from cancer, diabetes, degenerative diseases and infections. Hazrat Abu Darda (RA) narrates that Prophet (PBUH) said: “Eat figs! If I would say a certain type of fruit was sent down to us from the heavens, I would say it's a fig because it has no seeds. It ends (cures) piles and is useful for rheumatism.” Figs also have a high quantity of nutritious components that help the cells grow and produce hemoglobin, making them beneficial for those who suffer from anemia. The significant amount of phosphate and calcium in figs helps in protecting general health and improves weakness in bones. They also contain omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which promote heart health. The fiber in figs helps in bowel movement. Drinking fig-infused water is also thought to be effective for respiratory diseases including bronchitis or throat infections. Dried figs are high in minerals and vitamins that are necessary for nerve function. B6 in these fruits improves the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine in our brains. Figs help suppress the growth of various cancer cells, especially in post-menopausal women.
Olives are packed with copper, calcium, sodium, vitamin E, oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol and oleanolic acid. Olive oil is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which help to alleviate arthritis symptoms. Extra virgin olive oil boosts our memory and learning ability. It also lowers protein production in the brain and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Olives contain oleic acid, which is effective against various cancer cells. Olives also contain monounsaturated fats, the same ‘good fats’ you find in nuts and avocados. Monounsaturated fats increase good cholesterol that lowers risk of heart diseases.
“Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you]. There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colours, in which there is healing for people.” (Surah An-Nahl).
Honey is rich in minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium. It is fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free. Honey is known to help with ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems. Raw honey consumed on an empty stomach can assist in relieving pain and speeds up the healing process. The probiotic in honey nourishes good bacteria that are important for digestion. Honey contains a lot of monosaccharides like fructose and glucose, which is why honey is a good source of energy. Its natural sugars prevent fatigue during exercise, so it is also good for improving athletic performance. It is also high in flavonoids, polyphenols and vitamin C, all of which have been linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also known to be useful in the treatment of various allergic diseases, including pollen allergy. HH
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