As Muslims, we are encouraged to follow the Sunnah of the beloved Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon Him, including moral conduct and ethics when performing a certain action, speech or even diet. Regulating our diet is an especially important aspect, but we tend to overlook it these days, especially with easy access to junk and processed food. As a result, our global physical and mental health scale is in a worrying state.
We need to start consuming natural foods which are not only good for physical health and well-being, but vital for brain function enhancement as well. The Sunnah of the Prophet, Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon Him, is an established guide with many Sunnah foods that can serve these needs. Here are five Prophetic brain foods excellent in developing brain power for your child!
Eating dates may help improve brain function. Studies have found that dates are helpful for lowering inflammatory markers in the brain, which are commonly associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s. It can also help reduce plaques in the brain! When plaques accumulate in the brain, they may disrupt communication between brain cells, which can ultimately lead to brain cell death. In a hadith, the Prophet also mentioned the proper time to consume dates and its positive health implications in a hadith:
‘A’isha reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
The ‘ajwa’ dates of ‘Aliya’ contain healing effects and these are antidote in the early morning.
Did you know that the Quran mentions grapes eleven times? The word appears in different Surahs – Al-Baqara: 266, Al-An’aam: 99, Ar-Ra’d: 4, An-Nahl: 11, 67, Al-Israa: 91, Al-Kahf: 32, Al-Muminoon: 19, Yaseen: 34, An-Naba: 32 and Abasa: 28. The Prophet also used to consume dried grapes, commonly known as raisins, on the daily.
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that:
“Raisins would be soaked for the Messenger of Allah [SAW] and he would drink it that day, the following day, and the day after that.”
Grapes are another Prophetic food which are great for the brain. Research shows that grapes may help support brain health by reducing oxidative stress in the brain. This promotes healthy blood flow in the brain to maintain high levels of a key brain chemical that promotes memory, and exerts anti-inflammatory effects.
3. Black Seeds (Habatus Sauda)
Black seeds, also known as ‘Habbatul sauda’ or the seed of blessings or Kalonji is a natural remedy for many diseases and has been used in many countries for more than 2000 years. Abu Hurairah narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say:
“In black seed there is healing for every disease, except the Sam.” “Sam means death. And black seed is Shuwniz.”
Sunan Ibn Majah
Isn’t it amazing that such a small seed could cure all the diseases in the world except death? In this case, it can improve brain function associated with cognitive function, depression, epilepsy, memory and also prevent inflammation. This is due to the rich polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in the seeds, essential for protecting the nervous system against any neuronal injury and/or disorders.
The Prophet, Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon Him, placed great emphasis on olives, where he is narrated to have said:
“Allah’s Messenger said (Allah bless him and give him peace): ‘Eat [olive] oil, and anoint with it, for it is from a blessed tree!’”
Essentially, olives are packed with polyphenols, which are the naturally-occurring chemical in olives that is known to improve memory by reducing stress in the brain. The more olives you consume, the lower your risk of developing memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Tibb-al-Nabawi by Imam Jalaluddin as Suyuti also mentions the wonders of olive oil and its remedial effects. The essence and value of olive oil can be realized by looking at the benefits it provides. Prophet, Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon Him, says it contains cure for 70 diseases!
Barley was also mentioned in a hadith of the Prophet, Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon Him. In fact, this grain was mentioned in about 250 hadiths.
‘A’isha used to recommend al-Tabina for the sick and for such a person as grieved over a dead person. She used to say, “I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, Al-Tabina gives rest to the heart of the patient and makes it active and relieves some of his sorrow and grief.”
This is one of the hadiths that mention the health and emotional benefits of consuming barley. What are the other benefits, you might ask? They are rich in B-vitamins as well as fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and improve brain health. Research has linked B-vitamins (like B6, B12, and folate) to reducing risk of cognitive decline due to potential memory boosting benefits.
Now that you know some of the Prophetic foods linked to enhancing brain power, you can benefit from its nutritious value in no time! Let us all practice the Sunnah of the Prophet and live healthier lives, Insha’Allah.
Health Disclaimer: Please consult your physician, nutritionist or registered dietician if you are pregnant or have any type of medical condition. Do not undertake any self-treatment while undergoing a prescribed course of medical treatment without first seeking professional advice. Always seek medical advice if symptoms persist.