The aim of this study was to become aware of the knowledge that is provided in Islam related to eating behaviors and to realize that how strongly this Islamic knowledge and science are related.
Islam, Stress and Overeating
A strong evidence link over eating and different diseases, this comes to us by Ali (AS), he said:
‘Do not sit for food unless you are hungry; and do not leave the table but you still have an appetite for it, and chew your food in your mouth well’.
(Biharul-Anwar – Volume 24, Page 245. al-Majlisi, 1627 (AR)
‘(Truly) Over-indulgence of food causes various kinds of diseases.’
(Ghurarul-Hikam – Page 359).
The word “stress” refers to a procedure in which an individual perceive and respond to unpleasant event or stimulus. During stress a hormone release from the body that move people toward overeating. Researches proved strong linked between weight gain and stress. Fink G. Stress: Definition and history. Stress Science: Neuroendocrinology. 2010:3–9.
In the short term, stress can shut down appetite. During stress nervous system send message to adrenal gland that is located on the top of kidneys to release hormone epinephrine. Epinephrine is responsible for fight or flight response, that is a physiological state, that puts eating on hold. But when stress persist the adrenal glands release cortisol hormone, this hormone increase motivation to eat. When the stressful event over cortisol level decrease, and when stress, prolonged and the person stuck in the situation, cortisol elevated and individual preferred to eat. Yau, Y. H., & Potenza, M. N. (2013). Stress and eating behaviors. Minerva endocrinologica, 38(3), 255-67.
Scientifically, it is shown that overeating and eating disorders are linked, as it causes different disorders like binge eating or compulsive eating behaviors. It is proved in Islam that it’s important to give space to your stomach after eating. Islam provides the knowledge about the combinations of food and how to eat
Islam, Salt, and Hypertension
Islam highlight the benefits of taking salt before and after every meal. Because salt contains sodium chloride, which have many benefits for human beings. It increases human energy system and improve digestion if it taken before and after meal.
It is reported that the Prophet (S) always used salt before and after meals.
Our Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:
“One who eats a pinch a salt before and after a thing (food) Allah will protect him from 360 types of hardship, of which the easiest is leprosy”.
Imam Baqir (A.S.) has said:
“Salt is a cure for 70 diseases and if people will come to know the advantages of salt they will not use any other cure except salt.”
For the past thousand years salt is used in the preparation of food. Salt impact sensory nerve that located at the end of the tongue. This generates nervous impulses which pass via the central nervous system to trigger the corresponding motor nerve of the gland into action and commence secretion. In the result, digestive juices released in the stomach and intestines, so the digestive system start work on the absorption of food when individual taste salt. And a pinch of salt at the end of meal help to digest food completely. So the digestion related problems can be managed by the use of salt after meal. Cheok, A. D., ; Karunanayaka, K. (2018). Science of Taste. In Virtual Taste and Smell Technologies for Multisensory Internet and Virtual Reality (pp. 5-27). Springer, Cham.
Different studies proved that salt help to control thirst levels in the human body according to need. Lanaspa, M. A., Kuwabara, M., Andres-Hernando, A., Li, N., Cicerchi, C., Jensen, T., … ; Rodriguez-Iturbe, B. (2018). High salt intake causes leptin resistance and obesity in mice by stimulating endogenous fructose production and metabolism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(12), 3138-3143
On the other side, many researches find that when salt level increase from required level cause serious problems like hypertension. Hypertension is considered as serious health problem, medical studies proved that those who use excess of salt may suffer from this problem. It is reported that sodium chloride may contribute in the development of hypertension, but it is not scientifically proved. Feyh, A., Bracero, L., Lakhani, H. V., Santhanam, P., Shapiro, J. I., Khitan, Z., ; Sodhi, K. (2016). Role of Dietary Components in Modulating Hypertension. Journal of clinical ; experimental cardiology, 7(4), 433.
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