Medical science has advanced in leaps and bounds, so much that there are now over-the-counter medicines available for the mildest of coughs and colds. Home remedies like natural fruits, herbs and spices, once used to treat ailments, have now been replaced by medicines that give instant relief. There are medicinal supplements available in the form of tablets, powders, etc., to fulfill people’s nutritional needs, but whether or not one should completely rely on these for nutritional benefits is debatable. Whilst these supplements may help one in gaining adequate nutrition that they may be lacking, relying completely on them and not taking proper nutritional and natural food can do more harm than good.
Islam, being an all-round religion, covers the aspects of science and medicine as well. There are verses from the Quran and prophetic statements that talk about the use of natural items for the treatment and cure of diseases. Allah ﷻ has made lawful certain foods that are beneficial for us.
“O mankind! Eat of what is lawful and good on earth.”[Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 168]
It has been scientifically confirmed that the food we eat has an extremely important role to play in our health and fitness. There can be no better way than to eat what Allah ﷻ has made halaal for us, and to use the foods prescribed by the Quran and Sunnah to treat minor diseases and lead a healthy life.
Here are the health benefits of five common food items available in almost every household, mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah:
1. Black Seeds
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that he heard the Prophet ﷺ say,
“In black seed, there is healing for every disease, except the sam (death).”[Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 3447, Graded Sahih by Darussalam]
Black seeds, also called nigella seeds, are rich in antioxidants that neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals in the human body and prevent damage to cells. Studies have shown that regular consumption of black seeds can elevate immunity levels, improve heart health, and help in dealing with asthma, lowering cholesterol levels and controlling diabetes. It is also helpful in treating obesity.
Some studies have shown that black seeds may have some antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be helpful in fighting off certain disease-causing bacteria and treating inflammation in the body.
Since ancient times, honey has been used to heal diseases. Studies have been conducted that prove that it has high antibacterial properties. Honey has natural acidic properties as well, which have been used to treat ulcers and heal wounds, bedsores, burns and inflammation. An old and widely popular home remedy is to treat cough and respiratory infections with honey.
Good quality honey is known to be high in antioxidants, which is considered beneficial for heart health, as it lowers blood pressure. However, it should be taken in moderation by diabetics. When consumed in moderation, it can help control high cholesterol levels, as studies have shown that it can reduce triglyceride levels. It is also a much healthier sugar substitute.
All of the above-mentioned benefits of honey have been proven now, although much later, while Islam stressed upon its consumption 1400 years ago.
“And your Lord revealed to the bee saying, ‘Make hives in the mountains and in the trees and in what they build. Then eat of all the fruits and walk in the ways of your Lord submissively.’ There comes forth from within it a beverage of many colors, in which there is healing for men. Most surely, there is a sign in this for a people who reflect.”[Surah An-Nahl, Verses 68-69]
Mentioned in the forty-seventh chapter of the Quran as one of the foods of Jannah, honey has healing properties for various diseases.
In a hadith narrated by Sa’id Al Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him), a man came to the Prophet ﷺ and told him about his brother experiencing abdominal pain. Prophet ﷺ told the man to make his brother drink honey. And by the Will of Allah ﷻ, the man was cured. [Bukhari 5684]
Subhanallah, such are the healing properties of honey!
The date fruit has been mentioned several times in the Quran, and it has a very special and important place in Islam. Muslims across the globe break their fast in the month of Ramadan with dates because of their high nutritional content and also because the Prophet ﷺ recommended it, as they are purifying.
“And of the fruits of the date-palm, and the grapes- you obtain from them intoxication and (also) goodly provision. Most surely there is a sign in this for a people who ponder.”[Surah An-Nahl, Verse 67]
Besides being highly nutritious, containing vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, dates have high fiber content as well. Fiber is extremely important for overall health, and especially for gut health, as high fiber intake improves digestion and prevents constipation. They have a low glycemic index, which is very good for diabetics when taken in moderation.
Packed with disease-combating antioxidants, dates are good for preventing heart-related diseases, diabetes and cancer, with the permission of Allah ﷻ. They are a good source to promote brain health, and are also very beneficial in preventing brain-related diseases like Alzheimer’s. As mentioned in the Quran, in Surah Maryam, dates are highly beneficial for expectant mothers too.
Another fruit mentioned in the Quran in a number of verses is grapes.
“He causes to grow for you thereby herbage, and the olives, and the palm trees, and the grapes, and of all the fruits most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect.”[Surah An-Nahl, Verse 11]
A sweet fruit, high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, the skin of the red grape contains a substance called resveratrol, studies on which have shown to prevent the growth of tumors. Grapes have potassium and fiber, both of which are beneficial in promoting heart health when taken in moderation.
The fiber content is great for improving digestion and relieving constipation, and the anti-inflammatory agents in grapes are helpful in maintaining good eye health.
Being high in proteins, carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and more, grapes are great for immunity as well. But like every other food, moderation is the key, because an overdose of anything is never good.
Allah ﷻ says in the Quran (about the olive tree),
“And a tree that grows out of Mount Sinai which produces oil and a condiment for those who eat.”[Surah Al-Mu’minun, Verse 20]
Low in cholesterol and high in fiber, olives are really good for the digestive system and heart health. They are a good source of iron, copper and monounsaturated fatty acids, and they are high in antioxidants called polyphenols, which are helpful in preventing heart-related diseases.
Olives are packed with energy, proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, iron magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, sodium, and vitamins E, A and K, making them an excellent food choice. Extra virgin olive oil can reduce inflammation as it contains oleic acid.
“It was narrated from ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:‘Season (your food) with olive oil and anoint yourselves with it, for it comes from a blessed tree.’”[Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 4, Book 29, Hadith 3319, Graded Sahih by Darussalam]
As narrated in the above-mentioned hadith, olive oil is good for the body even when massaged. The anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil are useful in reducing pain in individuals with arthritis. This is not just to treat pain in the body, even when applied on the skin and scalp, it makes the skin soft and helps with hair growth.
These are only a few foods from the Quran and Sunnah that are highly beneficial for human health. Incorporating these in our diet in moderation does not negate the importance of taking medications prescribed by qualified doctors for various diseases, but a regular and moderated use of these food items is sure to prepare our bodies to resist diseases, with the permission of Allah ﷻ.
The aim of this article is not to discourage the use of medicines and medical supplements suggested by doctors, but to encourage the readers to incorporate the foods mentioned in the Quran and by our Prophet ﷺ in our diets.
Written by: Iram Atiqulla
Edited by: The Editorial Team
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