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How to Eat an Islamic Diet: 20 Foods Mentioned in the Quran

BY
Radiyah Beyah

What is an Islamic Diet?

Oh Muslims, Eating healthy is our religious duty.

“So eat of the lawful and good food which Allah has provided for you, and be grateful for the favour of Allah.” {Quran: Surah An-Nahl: 114}

           We often tell ourselves that we will change our lives eventually.

"Tomorrow I’ll memorize that verse"

"Tomorrow I’ll go to the gym"

"Tomorrow I’ll change my diet"

I used to live like that too, making myself promises that I wouldn’t keep. One day I decided to change my life. I was watching Rocky III when I decided to stop making empty promises. In this movie, Apollo Creed said something that awakened me. He said, “THERE IS NO TOMORROW.” These were the most meaningful words that I had ever heard from cinematic entertainment. As Muslims we should live like there is no tomorrow. We should use our time to get closer to Allah and to live a healthy, more productive life. I decided then and there, I would no longer live an unhealthy sedentary life. I knew I needed to change, so I looked to the Quran for guidance.

As I reflected over the Quran, I noticed how many times food was mentioned. I then had an epiphany

Islam is a way of life.

Allah gives us detailed instructions of how we should live in the Quran, and through the example of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). We can only attain true happiness by utilizing the all-inclusive guide of Allah. After pondering over it for several days, I discovered the answer to my problem. I was eating food that wasn't benefitting my body at all. The Quran referenced so many healthy foods that my diet lacked. So, I decided to only eat foods that were mentioned in the Quran.  During my research I was able to identify 20 healthy foods referenced in the Quran. Allah mentioned so many healthy foods throughout the Quran, and I decided I would try to incorporate each and every one of them into my diet.

1.Dates

         Dates have amazing nutritional qualities and are most definitely classified as a superfood. Allah mentions dates in surah Maryam verse: 25,

“And shake the trunk of date-palm towards you; it will drop on you fresh ripe-dates.” {Surah Maryam: 25}

They are mentioned in Surah Abasa, Al-Rahman, Qaf, Maryam, Al-Anaam, and etc.  Eating seven dates every morning is the Sunnah, which is why dates should always be included in our diet; even when we are not in Ramadan. Dates have so many nutritious qualities, and can serve as multivitamins. They are very rich in fiber, and they’re great for overall gut health. Dates are a great source of manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper, and vitamin B6. These essential minerals and vitamins are beneficial for various health conditions. Dates also contain various antioxidants such as, flavonoids, carotenoids, and Phenolic acid. These antioxidants help fight against chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. Dates are very sweet, and can even sweeten drinks as bitter as coffee. So, the next time you want to sweeten your morning chai instead of using white sugar, try adding a teaspoon of mashed dates.


2.Corn

        Corn is mentioned several times throughout the Quran. It was mentioned in Surah Naba, verse: 15.

“That we may produce therewith corn and vegetations...”  {Surah Naba: 15}

It was also referenced in Surahs like Surah Ash-Shura, Surah Ar-Rahman, Surah An-Nahl, Surah Anbiya, and Surah Al-Fath. Allah references corn in so many surahs, so it is definitely good for us.  Corn is very rich in Vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamin C, numerous B vitamins, antioxidants, and potassium. It also contains copper, an antioxidant that can help prevent cancer and heart disease. Corn is more beneficial without unhealthy additives like butter. So, when you're thinking of adding corn to your next meal try using olive oil instead of butter. If you want to add a little more spice, you should try adding ginger, fresh basil, and a pinch of salt to the water you boil it in.  

3.Ginger 

         Ginger is extremely healthy, and has various health benefits. Ginger is mentioned in Surah Insan, verse: 17.

And they will be given to drink a cup of (wine) mixed with Zanjabil (ginger). {Surah Insan: 17}

I could write a whole article about the abundant health benefits of ginger. Ginger is one of the healthiest and most delicious spices on the planet. It aids in digestion, reduces nausea, fights off the flu and common cold, aids in weight loss, and reduces Osteoarthritis pain. Ginger can also be very good for your skin, and can help treat eczema and psoriasis. I haven’t even mentioned the best part, it tastes great. So, the next time you make a smoothie or drink tea, try adding a little ginger. 

4.Grains

       Grains are mentioned frequently in the Quran and have significant health benefits. As mentioned in Surah Abasa: Verses(24-27):

Let people then consider their food. How We pour down rain in abundance. and meticulously split the earth open ˹for sprouts˺, causing grain to grow in it. {Surah Abasa: 24-27}

They are referenced in Surah Abasa, Surah Luqman, Surah Al-Baqarah, Surah Yusuf, and more. Whole grains are packed with fiber and nutrients. They are a great source of vitamin B, antioxidants, and trace minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium. They can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and can prevent the onset of some cancers. They can also lower your risk of stroke, and the list goes on. Grains are rich in fiber, which can aid in digestion and keep you regulated. When deciding what to eat for breakfast, you can’t go wrong with a decently proportioned bowl of oatmeal and a fruit. It's incredibly filling and you can even add some ginger to spice it up.

5.Olives

             Last but not least, olives. They taste incredible in a salad, in a gyro, and in a shawarma. But you probably didn’t know that olives are significantly high in Vitamin E. Vitamin E is good for your skin, your heart, and can protect against osteoporosis and cancer. The healthy fats within olives can produce olive oil, which is good for your hair. Olives also improve memory and reduce stress. So if you're attempting to become a hafiz, or if you're a student of knowledge, I recommend adding olives to your diet. Olives are referenced more than four times in the Quran, in Surah An-Nahl, verse: 11,

“With it He causes to grow the crops, the olives... '' {Surah An-Nahl: 11}

Allah also mentions olives in Surah Abasa, Yusuf, Al-Anaam, and Surah At-Tin.

Allah swears by olives in surah At-Tin, verse: 1.

By the Fig and the olive. {Surah At-Tin: 1}

Surely a fruit that Allah swears by, is extremely beneficial. When I discovered the various health benefits of olives, I decided to substitute my usual buttered toast with olive bread and olive oil. 

  When I included all of these delicious foods into my diet, I noticed a physical and mental change. I had more energy, my memory increased, and my skin looked healthier. I decided to cut out all of the processed foods from my diet and only eat these whole foods mentioned in the Quran. Whenever you are trying to better your life, it is important to remember that Islam is a way of life. Whenever you become lost in life, remember that Allah blessed us with a guide and a tour guide, the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). 

     

6. Figs

       Allah named a surah after figs, and swears by them in the first verse of that Surah. surah At-Tin, verse: 1; “By the Fig and the Olive.”

“By the Fig and the Olive.” {Surah At-Tin: 1}

Figs have been known to reduce blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is caused by a potassium imbalance. This imbalance causes you to crave sodium, increasing your sodium raises your blood pressure, which in turn can cause heart disease. Figs are a potassium rich food that can stabilize your potassium levels. They are also very high in fiber, helping you become more regulated; expunging the excess sodium in your blood. Figs are a great source of calcium as well, and can help prevent osteoporosis. Figs can be made into a topical cream for your skin, that can treat psoriasis and dermatitis, whilst decreasing the appearance of wrinkles. Adding a few slices of figs to my morning smoothing made a significant change to my appearance. I felt healthier and lighter and ready to take on the day.


7. Honey

      Honey is mentioned in multiple chapters of the Quran. It is even included in one of the descriptions of Jennah (Paradise). Allah has mentioned the curing effect of Honey in Suratul Nahl(The Chapter of The Bee).

“And thy Lord has inspired the bee, saying, ‘Make thou houses in the hills and in the trees and in the trellises which they build. Then eat of every kind of fruit, and follow the ways of thy Lord that have been made easy for thee.’ There comes forth from their bellies a drink of varying hues. Therein is cure for men. Surely, in that is a Sign for a people who reflect." {Suratul Nahl: 69-70}

Honey is a great sugar alternative and can also be used topically. Honey has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can kill unwanted bacteria and fungus, preventing infection and promoting wound healing. Manuka honey is used in medical settings to treat wounds, due to its antiseptic properties and its ability to aid in tissue regeneration. Honey is also rich in antioxidants and can decrease the aging process. The antioxidants in honey can once again prevent heart disease and reduce the risk of cancer. Next time you want to sweeten your coffee, throw out the white sugar and add honey instead.

8. Milk

       Allah mentions milk and honey when describing Jennah (Paradise) in Surah Muhammad.

“Rivers of milk of which taste never changes...”  {Surah Muhammad: 15}

Milk can be extremely beneficial for those who aren’t lactose intolerant. After reading about their substantial benefits, you might just want to pour yourself a milk bath. Milk is packed with vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, magnesium, vitamin B1, and zinc. It contains hundreds of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA’s) and omega-3’s. CLA’s are once again linked to preventing heart disease and can decrease the risk of diabetes. Organic grass-fed cows contain milk packed with antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene. Both of these antioxidants are essential for optimal skin health. They reduce inflammation and fight oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause Alzheimer’s, Parkinson disease, asthma, and male infertility. One glass of milk in the morning won’t just increase your calcium levels, it can do so much more.

9. Fish

       Allah references fish in the story of prophet Musa and Kidhr, in Surah Al-Kahf. This verse doesn’t mention a specific kind of fish, but this enables us to add variety to our diet, and choose a fish best suited to our taste.

"...they forgot their fish." {Surah Khaf: 61}

Fish is possibly one of the healthiest sources of protein you can come by. Fish is a low-fat high-quality protein, filled with omega-3’s. It’s rich in vitamin D and riboflavin (Vitamin B2). It’s a great source of calcium, phosphorus and minerals like iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. Once again, it’s great for your heart and your brain. The omega-3’s help increase brain function and reduce the risk of degenerative diseases such as, Alzheimer’s and dementia. It can also reduce the risk of depression and diabetes. So if you're looking for alternative protein source packed full of nutrients, you should definitely add fish to your diet.

10. Pomegranate

Pomegranate is a famously nutritious fruit, mentioned several times within the Quran. It is mentioned in Surah Ar-Rahman,

“In them (both will be fruits and date-palms and pomegranates.” {Surah Ar-Rahman: 68}

Pomegranate is also mentioned in Surah Al-Anaam and other surahs. Pomegranate is famous for its nutritional benefits, they are filled with antioxidants that can help remove free radicals, and can protect cells from damage. Eating pomegranates can help lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, due to its antioxidant components. Pomegranates also contain high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, potassium, and folate. The vitamins within pomegranates can help boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, prevent arthritis, increase your memory, and aid in digestion. Pomegranate juice is incredibly beneficial for your heart health. It increases blood flow and improves circulation. Pomegranate seeds are kind of like your daily multivitamin without the bitter taste. But if you're not a fan of it’s seedy texture you should try adding a bunch of pomegranate seeds to your morning smoothie; blending them enhances their vibrant flavor, and adds just the right amount of sweetness.


  As I began to research these astonishingly healthy foods I realized, they have various commonalities. A similarity that really stood out for me, was the fact that all of these foods were significantly beneficial for the heart. The heart is often mentioned in the Quran and in many hadiths. Hadiths such as this one:
“There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound; and if it is corrupted the whole body is corrupted. Verily this piece is the heart.” - Sahih Bukhari Book 2, Hadith: 45
This hadith emphasizes the importance of the heart, and how essential it is to safeguard. Therefore, our diet should consist of food that is beneficial for our heart. Which is why adopting the Islamic diet, which incorporates food that improves your heart health, is so critical. InshaAllah, the Islamic diet can do for you, what it did for me. It can significantly change your life for the better.

How To Curve Junk Food Cravings? Read the Quran!

If you constantly crave junk food, you should try substituting that unhealthy food with these recipes that utilize food mentioned in the Quran. These substitution options are sure to please your palate without making you feel guilty. This is part 3 of my 4-part series, An Islamic Diet. 

11. Grapes 

    Grapes are a well-known delicacy enjoyed throughout the world. These international jewels are mentioned eight times within the Quran. They are mentioned twice in Surah Nahl.

“With it He causes to grow for you the crops, the olives, the date-palms, the grapes, and every kind of fruit...”  {Surah Nahl: 11}
“And from the fruits of date palms and grapes, you obtain (date and grape juice) and a goodly provision...”   {Surah Nahl: 67}

They are also featured in Surah Abasa, Yusuf, Al-Isra, Al-Kahf, Ya Seen, Al-Anaam, and surah Al-Mumenoon. These juicy morsels are often eaten to relieve constipation; however, they benefit more than just your digestive system. Grapes are packed with vitamins and nutrients, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Thiamine, Potassium, Copper, and Manganese. They are also high in antioxidants, and can help prevent Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers. So don’t eat the Sour Patch Kids candy hidden in the back of your cabinet. Go to your refrigerator instead and open up those green grapes, your body will thank you later. If you're craving a sweet and sour treat, you can coat those green grapes in lime juice, roll them in Monk fruit granulated sugar, then freeze them overnight. Remember candy is dandy but fruit is better for you.  

12. Bananas

        Bananas can be classified as a multi-purpose flavor inducer. They can be incorporated in a variety of ways, in various dishes. Allah says,  

“Among Talh (banana trees) with fruits piled one above another...” {Surah Waqia: 29               

Bananas are known for their potassium content, but they have other benefits as well. Bananas are also rich in Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. Green bananas have high levels of starch and pectin which are types of dietary fiber. Bananas also contain antioxidant flavonoids that can help decrease the risk of heart disease. If you're craving ice cream and you're fond of banana splits, try adding banana to your favorite morning smoothie and freezing it. You can leave it in for the rest of the day, and by Maghrib you’ll have ice cream without the diary.  

13. Gourds

        Allah mentions gourds once in the Quran.

 “And We caused a plant of gourd to grow over him.” {Surah As-Saaffat: 146}

Since a specific type of gourd was not mentioned our diet can include all gourd plants. There are many different types of gourds, but my personal favorite would be the pumpkin. Pumpkins have various health benefits, and can easily be converted into a healthy tasty treat. Pumpkins are especially rich in vitamin A. Since they contain beta-carotene like carrots, they can improve your eyesight. Pumpkins are also a great source of vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, and iron. Pumpkins contain various antioxidants and can lower the risk of cancer, and eye diseases. If you have bad skin the vitamin E components and the phytochemicals within pumpkins can help improve the appearance of your skin. Instead of eating pumpkin pie, which corrupts the pumpkin’s nutrient content, try making a pumpkin parfait instead. Coat the bottom of your cup with organic oats honey, granola, cinnamon, and cardamom, add yogurt, then a nice layer of mashed pumpkin flesh. You can continue to layer your parfait until you're satisfied.  

14. Mint

           Mint once again isn’t mentioned in the Quran by name however Allah does say: 

 “And grain having husks and scented plants.” {Surah Ar-Rahman: 12}

There are many different types of edible scented plants, but mint is my personal preference. Mint has innumerable health benefits. Mint contains vitamin A, folate, Iron, and manganese. Mint is filled with antioxidants and is very beneficial to your digestive system. It can relieve indigestion, improve cold symptoms, improve brain function, and can decrease the pain felt when nursing. So instead of drinking that artificially flavored iced tea; boil yourself some mint tea, and add some honey and lemon.  

15. Foliage


    Foliage is referenced in the Quran over five times; Allah says: 

 “It is he who sends down rain from the sky; from it is drink and from it is foliage in which you pasture.” {Surah An-Nahl: 10}

 Foliage is also referenced in Surah Al-Rahman, Surah An-Naba, Surah Abasa, and Surah Al-Anaam. Foliage is simply a fancy word for edible plants; therefore, many plants can be classified as foliage. Kale happens to be my personal favorite. Kale has many nutritional properties, and I make sure to incorporate it in every meal. Kale is a great source of vitamin A, B, C, and K, as well as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. So, trade in those potato chips for some kale chips, add some kale to your morning smoothie, and always have dinner with a side of blanched kale. 

      Curbing your cravings can be difficult, especially when you're too focused on limiting your food intake. When trying to become healthy, decreasing your portion sizes is important. However, finding delicious healthy substitutions should be your main objective, and what could be better than the foods mentioned in the Quran. I tried these tasty substitutions and I truly enjoyed them, I felt lighter and healthier. I have more energy and I no longer experience that lingering feeling of guilt after enjoying these tasty treats. The better you eat, the better you’ll feel. Allah blessed you with this body, so it is upon you to follow the Sunnah and take care of it, by eating right and exercising.  

Foods in the Quran that You Can Meal Prep With

I should have stayed in bed today. Days like this are days when you should immediately open the Quran and find solace in its words. That is exactly what I did, and that is how I discovered these nutritious foods that I incorporated into my diet. Meal prepping at the start of the week with these foods that were mentioned in the Quran can help prevent you from ordering take out after a rotten day. 

16.Cow



                I know exactly what you're thinking, and I want you to understand that I am not validating your cheeseburger obsession. Lean beef can be very nutritious when eaten in moderation.  The cow’s reputation should not be marred, for it is an animal that is mentioned in the Quran. In fact, the longest Surah in the Quran is named after the cow; Surah Al-Baqarah.

“And (remember) when Musa said to his people: “Verily, Allah commands you to slaughter a cow,”  {Baqarah: 67}

Cows are mentioned several times in surah Al-Baqarah and they are mentioned in Surah Yusuf, Surah Al-Anaam, Surah Al-Hajj, and Surah Al-Maeda. Lean beef is mainly composed of protein and contains nine essential amino acids that your body needs for its growth and maintenance. Lean beef also contains vitamin B12, selenium, niacin, vitamin B6 and phosphorus. So, the next time you go to your halal meat market be sure to ask for a flank steak, tenderloin, sirloin, or top round roast. Those are the leanest parts of the cow, be sure to avoid asking for the T-bone or prime rib. You can also marinate your steak with mustard seeds, dried oregano, and honey, let it marinate after Fajr and by Asr time it will be ready for the grill.  


17. Ram 

         The Ram is another animal recognized in the Quran that has various health benefits. The Ram is mentioned in Surah As-Saaffat

“And we ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e., ram).”  {Surah As-Saaffat: 107}

A ram is a mature male sheep capable of reproducing, they are over the age of one. Ram meat is filled with vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, and unsaturated fats. Zinc plays an important role in maintaining the body’s equilibrium. It aids in wound healing and boosts your immune system. The calcium component within ram meat helps prevent osteoporosis and helps strengthen your bones. Selenium as well as vitamin E serve as antioxidants, and they both have anti-aging properties as well. So instead of making a chicken shawarma, make a lamb shawarma instead. 

18.Goat

          When it comes down to lamb or goat, goat is the healthier choice. Goats are mentioned in Suratul An-'Aam, verse: 143. 

“Eight pairs; of sheep two (male and female), and of the goats two (male and female) ...” {Suratul An-'Aam: 143}

 Goats are also mentioned once in Surah Az-Zumar. Goat meat is slightly sweeter and milder than lamb meat. Goat meat also has more protein per ounce of meat than lamb or mutton. Goat meat is rich in potassium, calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, selenium, and choline. Slow cooking goat meat enhances its flavor and tastes great when seasoned with cardamom and cloves. You can put it in your slow cooker with potatoes and beef stock in and go about your day, and by dinner time you’ll have a delicious stew already prepared.  


19.Quail

           Quails are sweet and petite birds that can elevate your flavor palate. Quails are mentioned in the Quran three times. They are mentioned in Surah Taha.

“...and We sent down to you Al-Manna and quails,” {Surah Taha: 80}

Quails are also mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah and Surah Al-Araf. Quail meat contains protein, phosphor, calcium, iron, and zinc. It also contains several B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin K. All of which are great for your body. Vitamin A is particularly beneficial, because it can enhance your ability to see at night, so praying at night just got easier. So, if you're tired of baked chicken try mixing it up a little and roast some quails instead.  

20. Fowl

     Here’s a fun fact: chickens are domesticated fowls, but not all fowls are chickens. A fowl can be a bird such as a pheasant, turkey, or partridge. Fowls are mentioned in surah Waqia, verse: 21.  

“And the flesh of fowls that they desire.” {Surah Waqia: 21}

     Since the type of fowl is not specified, our Islamic diet can be diversified and can include several varieties of fowl. My personal favorite type of fowl would be guinea. Guinea meat has various health benefits. Guinea is nutrient rich and low in calories. It’s also filled with amino acids, histidine, threonine, valine and B vitamins. The best way to cook a guinea is to roast it with figs and cook it until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.  

     When you have a busy work schedule or if you're busy with school, what you eat becomes an afterthought. As Muslims we are only trying our best to eat halal meat, but everything else goes out the window. When I was attending college, I hardly had time for breakfast and I was on a first name basis with the pizza delivery woman. When my health started to decline, I wasn’t surprised. My health made me decide to take control of my life and to start to think about my diet. After Fajr every day I would prepare my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, utilizing foods mentioned in the Quran, and it made all the difference in the world. This diet improved my skin, my body, and my attitude, and gave me the energy to try to become a better Muslim. Eating healthy is our religious duty.

Oh Muslims, Eating healthy is our religious duty.

“So eat of the lawful and good food which Allah has provided for you, and be grateful for the favour of Allah.” {Surah An-Nahl: 114}

Allah gave us this body so we have an obligation to provide it with all of the nutrients it requires to flourish. 



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