Islam teaches its followers many etiquettes of eating and living a healthy life. The Prophet made a point of developing remarkably clean and healthy eating habits among his followers. With its rich bazaars and political and caravans streaming in from desert oases, it would have been easy for a man of Muhammed’s stature to live a lavish life of immoderate eating and unhealthy habit. But that’s far from what happened.
The Prophet Muhammad shared many insights into the Qur’an on how to lead a natural and healthy life, and many of these health and fitness tips are the foundation of social customs in the Islamic religion. Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
Eat in moderation
Prophet Muhammad stressed the practice of eating less to prevent sickness and diseases, which is supported by doctors today. The Islamic practice of eating in moderation suggests your stomach should be filled by ⅓ of food, ⅓ liquid, and ⅓ breath. Within the past 20 years, studies have shown that mindful eating can help you reduce overeating and binge eating, lose weight and reduce BMI, cope with eating problems, and reduce anxious thoughts about your body and food.
It was narrated that the Prophet Muhammad was a strong advocate of eating slowly to help with the digestion process. It takes about 20 minutes for the body to tell our brain that we are full. Slow eating helps digest our food because efficiently chewed food aids the digestion process and doesn’t require too much energy from the stomach or intestine.
Participate in sports
In Islam, sports are important to gain a healthy body. Sports like archery, swimming, horseback riding are especially encouraged. Islam encourages exercise and being in good physical shape. The Prophet said, “A strong believer is better and dearer to God than a weak believer, though in both is good.” The one who is physically stronger is better before God because they are more active and energetic in the performance of worship and taking care of the needs of others.
Sleep and Salat (prayer)
The Prophet also recommended adequate sleep. He never deprived himself of sleep nor overslept. He advised and practiced to sleep in the early part of the night and to wake up early in the morning. Science research shows that going to bed early can help maintain a healthy weight, stay more productive, and avoid serious health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases.
Salat is one of the five fundamental requirements that a Muslim is obligated to perform. According to a hadith (authentic narrations from the prophet), the Prophet has reported having said, “Verily there is a cure in salat”. There are some physical benefits in salat, such as increased movement in hand and shoulder muscles at the beginning of the salat, therefore increasing the blood flow towards the torso. The heart is one of the most important organs in our body because it supplies fresh blood to all body tissues. The movements during prayer are a good source of exercise in our heart.
Prophet Muhammad told his followers about the benefits of sharing as opposed to over-indulging in the good things in life. He said, “He is not a believer who eats to his full but his neighbor goes without food.” Prophet Muhammad encouraged sharing food with neighbors, friends and the poor. This principle of improving the public’s general health is thanks to the Prophet’s own life and ideas.
Foster a strong community
The Prophet brought value and significance of Muslims eating together. He said it is crucial to eat food with family, romantic relations, and with children to build a better connection. People are usually relaxed when eating with company and it also builds social harmony and understanding. “Eat together and not separately, for the blessing is associated with the company,” the Prophet said.
Recent evidence has shown that the foods we eat and the times that we eat have impacted our health. The Prophet would fast not just during Ramadan, but Monday, Thursday, and the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every Islamic month. Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular as it has numerous benefits to the body. Fasting helps with weight loss, improves insulin sensitivity, speeds up metabolism, curbs hunger, improves eating patterns, enhances brain function, and boosts the immune system.
The Prophet would always brush his teeth before and after bed using a part of a fruitless yet fragrant branch called Arak. This small wooden branch is still used today as a toothbrush. Muhammad gave special attention to cleanliness and personal hygiene with respect to faith. Research shows that 70% of people with poor dental hygiene were at risk of heart diseases according to the Scottish Health Survey.
Drink water slowly
The Prophet said to not drink water in one gulp like a camel, instead take small sips. Today, science shows that when a person drinks too much water in a short period of time they can imbalance blood electrolyte levels and experience dizziness. Drink water slowly so it will help your body absorb fluids and get the most out of them.
The Prophet taught his followers to have a peaceful mind though acceptance in life changes. He warned them not to be engulfed with anxiety, depression, or anger. “A man said to the Prophet, ‘Give me advice.’ The Prophet said, ‘Do not get angry.’ The man asked repeatedly and the Prophet answered each time, ‘Do not get angry.’” Prophet Muhammad knew that if a person controlled his anger he or she would be able to control other aspects of life. That is why the Prophet mentioned in another hadith (authentic narrations from the prophet), “The powerful man is not the one who can wrestle, but the powerful man is the one who can control himself at the time of anger.” Anger opens the door to all bad qualities and staying away from it opens the door to all good qualities. Health studies have shown that anger can raise your chances of a stroke, puts your heart at greater risk, and weakens your immune system.