A Heart-Healthy Diet.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم.

As a matter of urgency: diet. I think it escapes us at times: how crucial it is. But a close member of my family had been taken in for an open heart surgery today. His operation went well, AlHamduli Llah . Thank Allah immensely: he’s okay.

And, moving forward: this feels like it’s going to be a turning point. Things are going to change, In Shaa Allah

Being South Asians, we are known to love our rice and curry. Our biryanis. Being generally part of the ‘modern Western’ world: there are also éclairs and pizzas and burgers abound.

We live in London. We have Doner kebab shops, and PFCs (fried chicken shops) and churro stands. Many of these places have حلال signs hanging from them.

It’s scary: ‘modernity’ normalises sedentary lifestyles [that’s: sitting a lot. In office chairs and the like.] Foods are packed with sugar, artificial flavours, colours, preservatives.

A lot of this stuff: we would refuse to feed to animals. Why do we feed ourselves this stuff?

And: as delicious as white rice is… it’s high in sugar. And too much sugar, salt, cholesterol, unhealthy fats… these things result in disease. They clog up our arteries; they detract from our health.

The human heart: benefits from cardio exercise. Like jogging and running [neither of which, I have found and decided, are quite ‘for me’] and brisk-walking. And swimming and cycling. Things like this.

And reduced stress levels, which is likely aided by good, restorative sleep, and strong and healthy social bonds.

Personally, I really want to cut down on such things as my intake of meat-based meals. Meat is heavy, and historically, I think: has been a luxury food thing.

To not smoke or consume alcohol [the latter: generally very easy for a Muslim. Abstention from alcohol is ingrained in the Islamic way of doing things.] To stay hydrated.

In terms of food: even in spite of environmental factors like… all these McDonald’s adverts and so on…

It would strongly appear as though a more ‘heart-healthy’ diet consists of:

A range of produce. Fruit, veg, spices and herbs. Nuts and seeds. And heart-healthy oils like olive oil, and rapeseed oil.

Because Allah has Put such goodness in food. Such a colourful array of produce, containing both preventions (of disease,) and cure.

Random fact: Did You Know that there are more than forty (known) types of kiwi fruit alone in the world? And Kiwi fruit is high in Vitamin C and fibre. It’s good for heart health, immunity, digestive health…

It seems as though each naturally-occurring food thing. Is good for at least something. It’s quite awesome, Maa Shaa Allah

There’s such a range that we can have. Strawberries and blueberries and cabbage and kale and onions and celery and garlic. Bananas and mangos and pomegranate. Naturally delicious, and good for us.

Also: proteins. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are really good.

Carbs. Brown rice, quinoa, lentils, beans. Whole grains.

Look: I, for one, really love my chicken biryani. And cake and buffalo wings. But: the more I learn, the more I know that those things are not really wholly good for me, when not in good moderation. That ‘spike’ of ‘deliciousness’ that these things, in sum, might seem to give: they’re like… false promises. Tricks to the mind, to the tastebuds. Some things seem, in nutritional terms, as ‘good’ as… eating cardboard.

And after the events of today: worrying before and during a loved one’s heart surgery. Trying to lead a more heart-healthy life is more than worth it. The swaps (e.g. more salad, less chocolatey ‘treats’) make us stronger. Physically, mentally, and spiritually.

In terms of the ‘damage that has already been done’: 100%, it can be undone. We can’t ever falsely think that something is ‘impossible’ for Allah

And, looking forward:

The more good food one eats, it seems: the more one craves good food, in place of craving the less good… And:

Some Sunnah foods include… dates. Melon. Cucumber. Olives. Grapes. Pomegranate. Figs.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُلُوا مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِلَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ

“O you who have believed, eat from the good [pure] things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.”

— Qur’an, (2:172).

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