The teaching of the Holy Prophet (SAW) have always had both religious and scientific evidence to verify their benefits. He (SAW) taught everything from religion to everyday conduct by setting himself up as an example. From these principles, we can clearly derive the best practices for eating to keep stomach healthy, which have become a major issue these days.
1. Never Eating to Fill Stomach
It has become a habit these days to eat until the stomach is completely full. However, looking back to the early times of Islam, one can see that the Holy Prophet (SAW) set an example for this. He (SAW) would never eat until his stomach was full, as narrated by Miqdam ibn Ma’d: “The son of Adam cannot fill a vessel worse than his stomach, as it is enough for him to take a few bites to straighten his back. If he cannot do it, then he may fill it with a third of his food, a third of his drink, and a third of his breath” (Tirmidhi, 2380).
The stomach requires empty space to function effectively. Cramming too much food decreases its digestive efficiency. This in turn not has numerous negative effects such as wastage of nutrients, stomach cramps, indigestion and longer time for stomach to empty. Eating less, with 3 portions (food, liquid and empty space) ensures that there is ample liquid to facilitate digestion of food. Moreover, the empty space allows the stomach to move properly to digest food.
2. Consumption of Halal Food
The Holy Prophet (SAW) would always consume halal food. Islam has set specific parameters for food to be considered halal and has directed Muslims to eat only from that which is pure and halal. “He hath forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and swineflesh, and that which hath been immolated to (the name of) any other than Allah. But he who is driven by necessity, neither craving nor transgressing, it is no sin for him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” (2:173).
Islam prioritizes the both the physical and spiritual well-being of believers. The term halal in reality defines both the actions of a believer and their food. Muslims are forbidden from consuming meat which has not been slaughtered properly to remove blood. It is a well-known fact that blood in meat spoils and becomes poisonous. Alcohol has numerous health risks and inebriates, thus robbing a person of normal thinking. It causes long-term neurological damage and is a major cause for stomach ulcers which often evolve into cancers. The western societies are plagued with crimes and accidents which have been caused as a result of people being inebriated. Other addictive drugs such as cocaine, opium and heroin are also banned as they rob a person of their normal cognitive senses and apart from damaging their health, also forces them to conduct dangerous actions.
3. Eating Simple Food
Islam encourages Muslims to consume simple food rather than complex, multiple dishes. The Holy Prophet (SAW) would eat simple food without mixing different dishes together. He (SAW) would favor barley bread made from whole grain flour and called it the food of the Prophets and righteous people. In one At one instance, he was provided milk and honey which he refused.
The stomach functions best when it is provided a nutritionally balanced diet with simple ingredients. It is easier to digest and allows the stomach to work more effectively. The stomach acids and digestive enzymes are able to break down the simple food faster and hence work better. Since the food does not contain complex ingredients in abundance, it prevents indigestion and other stomach related issues.
4. Consuming Food of Moderate Temperature
The Holy Prophet (SAW) would eat advise others to eat food that was neither too hot nor too cold. When hot food was brought to him, He (SAW) quoted “Let it become cool. God has not fed us fire. And foods that are not too hot are blessed” (Al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi, vol. 6, p. 322, no. 1).
Food that is either too hot or too cold is not good for the stomach. Hot food denatures the stomach enzymes which negatively affects digestion. It also burns the mucus membrane of the stomach, injuring the body. Cold food shocks the nerves in the body and is also harmful for the body. It is advisable to consume food which is of adequate temperature.
5. Eating Without Reclining
The Holy Prophet (SAW) always used to favor eating while sitting properly. He used to sit mostly cross legged and did not support his back with anything. Science has proven that sitting in this position ensures that the stomach is able to properly digest food. Reclining back or front too much puts pressure on the stomach and prevents it from working properly. Moreover, it also puts pressure on the intestines and prevents them from passing the food through peristalsis movement. Read more about eating habits here.