Insights into Islamic Prophetic nutrition –
February 2020 compilation by health researcher Sue Visser
1,400 years ago, the Prophet Muhammad *peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (SAW ) spoke about health, disease and the use of various foods and spices, with profound insights that have stood the test of time. https://archive.islamonline.net/?p=15586
“Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein.”
“But Allah has said that He created no disease without also creating its remedy, except death (meaning the decline of old age).”
The Prophet *(SAW) told sick people to: “Get rid of evil delusions. Strength is with Allah the Almighty. Cure and be cured. There is no healing but yours”.
“The stomach is the home of disease and abstinence the head of every remedy”
“Fast so as to heal your bodies from diseases.”
“Yea people: eat of what is on earth, lawful and wholesome.”
“The stomach is the central basin of the body, and the veins are connected to it. When the stomach is healthy, it passes on its condition to the veins, and in turn the veins will circulate the same; and when the stomach is putrescence, the veins will absorb such putrescence and issue the same.”
According to The Prophet (SAW) the top condiments were honey, olive oil, salt, and vinegar
Honey: “From its [the bee’s] belly, comes forth a drink of varying colours wherein is a cure for people. Surely there is a sign for those who would give thought.” And – “ If a person eats honey a thousand remedies enter his stomach and a million diseases will come out”. Honey is not just a sugar, but also a complex combination of enzymes, organic acids, esters, antibiotic agents, trace minerals and vitamins. It is still used in hospitals to heal incurable skin lesions when modern medicines fail to do so. Honey has profound antimicrobial effects and is more than just a sweetener.
Olive Oil “Use olive oil as a food and ointment for it comes from a blessed tree. For olive oil is the supreme seasoning.” Olive oil is the healthiest oil, being the highest in monounsaturated fats. According to students of prophetic medicine, “green olives are the most nourishing, and counteract autointoxication. Black olives cause the spleen to overproduce bile and are hard on the stomach. Olive leaves can be chewed as treatment for inflammation of the stomach, skin ulcerations, and eruptions of herpes and hives.” Olive leaves are antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral and they are rich in antioxidants. Olive Leaf Tea also lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol, and reduces blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Salt “Salt is the master of your food. God sent down four blessings from the sky – fire, water, iron and salt” (Ibn Maja). A pinch of salt before and after meals was recommended by Islamic healers. Salt before a meal helps to support the intensity of the stomach acid to digest the meal. A pH of 2 (very acidic) is required to close the valve at the base of the oesophagus and salt provides the chloride that is needed to maintain acidity at this intensity. Taking a few grains of salt after a meal can thus help to prevent acid reflux and heartburn. A salty finish (as opposed to sugary residues) also helps to fight tooth decay.
Vinegar was called a “blessed seasoning” and a house with vinegar would never suffer from poverty.
Apple cider vinegar especially, is nutrient-rich, including amino acids, enzymes, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and silicon. A teaspoon of vinegar also relieves heartburn as it temporarily will lower gastric pH in order to close the oesophageal valve to prevent further reflux. Eating a pickle is a pleasant way to consume vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar improves metabolism, dissolves phlegm, controls excess lactic acid in the bloodstream and can help those with arthritis, high blood pressure, cholesterol, colds, constipation, cramps, diabetes, diarrhoea, indigestion, muscle stiffness, and sore throats.
* The meaning of the Arabic phrase sallallahu alayhi wa sallam (abbreviation SAW) is “May Allah honour him and grant him peace” or “peace and blessings of Allah be upon him”. This term should be used specifically when saying Prophet Muhammad’s name.
Using honey, olive oil, salt and vinegar in today’s kitchen as well as medicine chest
“Let your food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food” (Hippocrates)
Salt “Salt is the master of your food. God sent down four blessings from the sky – fire, water, iron and salt” (Ibn Maja). A pinch of salt before and after meals was recommended by Islamic healers.
Salt before a meal helps to support the intensity of the stomach acid to digest the meal. A pH of 2 (very acidic) is required to close the valve at the base of the oesophagus and salt provides the chloride that is needed to maintain acidity at this intensity. Taking a little salt after a meal can thus help to prevent acid reflux and heartburn. Do not drink water straight after thee meal, but the mouth can be rinsed. A salty finish (as opposed to sugary residues) also helps to fight tooth decay.
Why are people so afraid of salt?
The Great Salt Lake in Utah provides a mineral solution so rich in magnesium chloride that it is hard to swallow, but this foul tasting solution is very rich in something we all need more of: lithium and boron. It also has traces of just about every other element on the periodic table.
Vinegar and honey are a good combination – called oxymel by the first-century Greek doctor Dioscorides and used even today as a folk medicine treat arthritis, gout, high cholesterol, as a metabolic stimulant to promote weight loss. 4 parts of vinegar to 1 part honey is a general recommendation and it can be taken as is or diluted with water. Drink a few glasses of oxymel a day as a refreshing drink. Add ice cubes, sprigs of mint and lemon wedges as a substitute for sugary sodas. You can also add fresh or dry herbs to oxymel and allow them to soak for a few weeks, to intensify their effects. Rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and ginger are good for respiratory problems.
Honey used with water and salt helps to replace fluids lost during diarrhoea and vomiting are said to be more effective than electrolyte mixtures because of the additional anti-microbial effect. When ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon is added to a teaspoon of honey, the effect of insulin is improved and vinegar slows down the insulin response. Use only pure honey for mouthwashes and throat gargles. When honey is combined with a starch such as bread, it is very bad for teeth as then it ferments in the mouth. Honey must not be given to very young infants as it may contain botulism spores and the baby’s immature intestine cannot yet eliminate them like you can.