by Sister Jameela Ho
You all know that fruits are good for you. They’re full of vitamins, minerals and fibres. But are you and your family eating enough of it? Children can be fussy eaters, adults too, and sometimes fruits aren’t on the top of our list of favourite food to eat. We rather eat lollies and cakes to satisfy our sweet cravings.
Too much sugar, though, is the cause of many illnesses. It’s been called the modern drug that causes addiction due to its release of dopamine in the brain. The more you have of it, the more you want it.
Dangers of Sugar
Let’s take a quick look at some of the ill effects of sugar.
Sugar feeds the yeast in your body, causing it to multiply in your bloodstream and organs. This makes your blood acidic. Keep in mind that a healthy body is slightly alkaline. When the body is too acidic, all sorts of illnesses can develop such as gout and cancer.
Sugar quickly raises your blood sugar and just as quickly your body’s insulin will strip that sugar from your blood and make you feel fatigue and craving for more sugar. Also, sugar doesn’t satisfy your hunger but makes you hungrier so you end up eating more food which leads to obesity.
Too much sugar can cause a fatty liver because the sugar is stored in the liver as glycogen but if there’s too much glycogen then the sugar is converted to fat. When insulin stops working, because the cells become resistant to it, it leads to type II diabetes in people who eat too much sugar. Insulin also regulates cell growth so it can contribute to cancer.
These are some serious health issues that you want to avoid by limiting your intake of processed and artificial sugars. Let’s stick to what Allah has given us in nature because the more we eat things as close to its natural state then the beneficial it’ll be for us.
Healthy Sweet Options
…(Allah) causes to grow for you the crops, the olives, the date-palms, the grapes and every kind of fruit…
(Qur’an, An-Nahl 16:11)
Praise Allah that He has given us so many different and delicious fruits. There is so much goodness in each one. Even though fruits contain high fruit sugars, they also contain fibre and other nutrients that are good for you and buffer the effects of the sugar. Also, most fruits have a low Glycemic Index which means that it will take longer for your body to change the fruit to glucose so you won’t have a sudden spike in blood sugar.
So when you feel like something sweet, reach for a fruit. Or better still, if it’s available then aim to eat one of these five fruits mentioned in the Qur’an as they are among the best fruits.
And in the earth are neighbouring tracts and gardens of vines and green crops and date palms…
(Qur’an, Ar-Ra’d 13:4)
Dates are packed full of nutrition with a whole lot of vitamins and minerals and are quickly digested so that when Maryam gave birth to Prophet Isa, Allah revealed to her to eat the date:
And shake the trunk of date-palm towards you, it will let fall fresh ripe-dates upon you. So eat and drink and be glad. And if you see any human being, say: ‘Verily! I have vowed a fast unto the Most Gracious (Allah) so I shall not speak to any human being this day (Qur’an, Maryam 19:25-26).
Likewise, since it is an excellent source of energy and nutrients, we are advised to break our fasts with a date. Narrated Salman ibn Amir: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: When one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates; but if he cannot get any, then (he should break his fast) with water, for water is purifying. (Sunan Abu Dawud)
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best suhoor for the believer is dates.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2345)
It’s only in recent years that science has revealed that the date can cure a number of illnesses due to its nutrient-rich properties. Some of these are bone health, nervous system health, heart health, blood purification, skin and vision improvement, digestion, allergies, immunity, cholesterol and cancer.
By the fig and the olive. By Mount Sinai. By this city of security (Makkah). Verily, We created man in the best mould. Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low. Save those who believe and do righteous deeds. Then they shall have a reward without end. Then what causes you to deny the Recompense? Is not Allah the Best of judges?
(Qur’an, At-Tin 95)
The fig is mentioned only once in the Qur’an but it is one of the fruits that Allah swears by, indicating that it is one of the best fruits there is.
Like the date, it is dense in vitamins, minerals and fibre. And similarly, figs are said to aid in digestion, heart health, bone health, vision and even skin and hair health. It can cure high blood pressure and diabetes due to the high levels of potassium whereas the high fibre content reduces cancer.
Then We (Allah) brought forth for you gardens of date-palms and grapes, wherein is much fruit for you, and whereof you eat.
( Qur’an, Al-Mu’minun 23:19)
Grapes are high in vitamins and minerals but the most famous phytonutrient in grapes is resveratrol. This aids in heart health, skin, eye and brain health, migraine, cholesterol, increased immunity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
The nutrients, however, are mainly packed into the skin and seeds of grapes so don’t peel or spit out the seeds, eat them all.
And it is He Who produces gardens trellised and untrellised, and date-palms and crops of different shape and taste and olives and pomegranates, similar and different…
(Qur’an, Al-An’am 6:141)
Pomegranates are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Its beneficial antioxidant compound is found in both the juice and the peel. If you’ve ever eaten a pomegranate before then you’ll know that the peel often comes off with the seeds and it’s time consuming to pick and separate them out. So don’t do it but eat them all together.
The antioxidant in pomegranates is said to be three times more powerful than green tea. It is a cure for heart disease, cholesterol, high blood pressure and cancer, among others.
They will be among thornless lote‐trees, and banana‐trees (with fruits), piled one above another. And in extended shade, and by water flowing constantly, and abundant fruit, neither cut off nor forbidden.
(Surat al‐Waqi’a 56: 28‐33)
The banana is described in the Qur’an as one of the fruits from Jannah that the believers will enjoy. We know that Jannah is the best place with only the best things. It says a lot that the banana is named among them.
As usual, they are packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They are great for digestive health, heart health, mood enhancing, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
These days the most common diseases among people are blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. The chances are high that you’ll know someone who has one or more of these illnesses. You may have noticed that the fruits mentioned above can be a cure for all of these. Jabir reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Every disease has a cure. If a cure is applied to the disease, then it is relieved by the permission of Allah the Exalted.” (Muslim)
Before you reach for the pill, try these natural alternatives. They are preventative as well as curative. And before you reach for the processed sweets, try one of these fruits. They will satisfy your sweet cravings. Have them readily available to your family so they too can reap the benefits.