Islam prescribes much etiquette and practices of healthy eating and living. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recommended remarkably hygienic and healthy eating habits to his followers. He provided many insights from the Qur’an on leading a natural and healthy life, and many of these insights are the foundation of social customs among Muslims.
Here are some tips from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ‘ReSYNC Your Life’ by Samir Becic.
Moderation in Consumption
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) emphasized eating less to prevent sickness and diseases. Scientific research now supports this practice. The Islamic advice of eating is to fill the stomach with ⅓ food, ⅓ liquid, preferably water, and ⅓ empty.
Eat and Drink Slow
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a strong advocate of eating slowly to assist the digestion process. It takes about 20 minutes for the body to inform the brain that we are full. Slow eating helps digest food because well chewed food aids the digestion process by saving energy and churning in the stomach.
The Prophet (pbuh) instructed to not drink water in one gulp like a camel, instead taking small sips. Today, science shows that if a person drinks water too quickly they can imbalance blood electrolyte levels and experience dizziness. Drinking water slowly helps absorption of fluid and hydration of the body.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) told his followers about the benefits of sharing as opposed to selfishness and over-indulgence in the good things in life. Islam emphasizes sharing food with family, friends, neighbors, and the poor.
Eat in Company
The Prophet (pbuh) preached to Muslims the significance of eating together. He is reported to have said to eat together and not separately, for the blessing of Allah is associated with company. People are usually relaxed when eating in company and this creates harmony and understanding among people.
Engage in Physical Activity
In Islam strongly advises physical activity to gain a healthy body. Sports like archery, swimming, horseback riding are especially encouraged. The Prophet (pbuh) said that a strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak believer. Physically strength and active disposition are conducive to the performance of worship and taking care of the needs of others.
The Prophet (pbuh) recommended adequate sleep, neither too much nor not enough. He also advised and practiced sleeping during the early part of the night and waking up early in the morning. Research shows that going to bed early helps maintain healthy body weight, productivity, and curtails health problems such as diabetes, obesity and heart diseases.
Fasting is the practice of going without eating or drinking for a considerable period of time, such as half a day or more. The Prophet (pbuh) used to fast not just during the month of Ramadan, but also on Mondays and Thursdays, and on the 13th, 14th and 15th of the Islamic (lunar) month. Fasting helps with weight loss, improves insulin sensitivity, accelerates metabolism, curbs hunger, improves eating patterns, enhances brain function, and boosts the immune system. Modern day research has shown that the foods we eat and timing affect our health. Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular as it shows remarkable health benefits.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
The Prophet (pbuh) used to always rinse his mouth and brush his teeth several times a day, using a part of a fruitless yet fragrant twig of tree called ‘arak’. This small branch of tree was used, and is still used today, as a toothbrush. The Prophet (pbuh) stressed special attention to cleanliness and personal hygiene, and called it an article of faith. According to a study called Scottish Health Survey, people with poor oral hygiene were at 70% higher risk of heart diseases.