Eat Healthy like the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ During This Pandemicby Hessy Trishandiani
With COVID-19 still affecting the world, many of us are finding ourselves stuck at home for most of the day, juggling between work and other responsibilities. Figuring out what to eat can be yet another daily challenge and it may be tempting to sideline healthy eating when faced with more dire needs, ranging from emotional to financial.
Eating a nourishing and balanced diet is important to maintain good health physically and vital in supporting mental health as well. Figuring out how to add some nutritional balance to our daily intake may help make the process feel less daunting and potentially improve our health in the long run.
Healthy eating habits were also recommended by our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The following list provides 5 of his favorite foods along with their health benefits which we can consider to consume in our daily life.
Who doesn’t know dates? These are the delicious fruits grown from the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) and are native to the area of the Middle East. While dates are high in natural sugar, they also contain many essential nutrients that must be included in our daily diet. These fruits are rich in fiber, Vitamin B-6 and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, and copper. A study from International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine stated that dates also show a role in disease prevention through anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activity.
Speaking of dates, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to have seven dates every single day and recommended us to consume it.
Narrated by Sa`d, Rasulullah ﷺ said,
“He who eats seven ‘Ajwa dates every morning, will not be affected by poison or magic on the day he eats them.” [Bukhari 5445]
People have used honey in traditional medicine for hundreds of years. According to a study published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, high-quality honey contains many important antioxidants. These include organic acids and phenolic compounds like flavonoids. Scientists believe that the combination of these compounds gives honey its antioxidant power. Antioxidants have been linked to reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, some types of cancer and may also promote eye health.
The Prophet ﷺ used to drink a glass of water mixed with honey every single morning. Just like he said in a hadith,
“Healing is in three things: A gulp of honey, cupping, and branding with fire (cauterizing).” But I forbid my followers to use (cauterization) branding with fire.” [Bukhari 5681]
Olive oil is the natural oil extracted from olives, the fruit of the olive tree. Experts agreed that olive oil has many health benefits, especially the extra virgin olive oil that has numerous benefits for heart health. It lowers blood pressure, protects “bad” LDL cholesterol, particles from oxidation and improves the function of blood vessels. The other good news is it also doesn’t cause weight gain if you use it for cooking. In a 30-month study in over 7,000 Spanish college students, consuming a lot of olive oil was not linked to increased weight.
Olives are also one of Prophet Muhammad’s favorite foods. 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.” [Ibn Majah 3319]
New research from the University of South Australia assessed genetic biomarkers among more than 400,000 people. The study found that greater milk consumption was associated with lower blood cholesterol, lower blood lipid levels and a lower risk of heart disease. Apart from that research, people who have a diet rich in milk and milk products can reduce the risk of low bone mass throughout the life cycle as it is rich in calcium. Foods in the milk group provide vital nutrients, including calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ also loved having goat and camel milk. Milk is even mentioned in the Quran:
“And indeed, for you in grazing livestock is a lesson. We give you drink from what is in their bellies – between excretion and blood – pure milk, palatable to drinkers.” [Quran16:66]
Barley is a major cereal grain and it was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia as early as 10,000 years ago. According to Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, epidemiological studies have consistently shown that regular consumption of whole grain barley reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases and combats common nutrition-related diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. The Prophet ﷺ apparently also used to have barley in the form of bread, dough and porridge.
“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ entered upon us, and with him was Ali bin Abu Talib, who had recently recovered from an illness. We had bunches of unripe dates hanging up, and the Prophet ﷺ was eating from them. Ali reached out to eat some, and the Prophet ﷺ said to Ali: ‘Stop, O Ali! You have just recovered from an illness.’ I made some greens and barley for the Prophet ﷺ, and the Prophet ﷺ said to Ali: ‘O Ali, eat some of this, for it is better for you.’” [Ibn Majah 3442]
These healthy foods are certainly not limited to be consumed during this pandemic. We can make it as a healthy habit that is inherent in our daily lives like Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and reap both the health and sunnah benefits. May Allah always protect and bless us all with good health and happiness.