Honey as Diabetic's Balm
Madison, Wisconsin: Spreading honey on a diabetic ulcer could prevent the need to amputate an infected foot, researchers say.A doctor at the University of Wisconsin who helped about half a dozen of her diabetic patients avoid amputation has launched a controlled trial to promote the widespread use of honey therapy.
The therapy involves squeezing a thick layer of honey onto the wound after dead skin and bacteria have been removed.The honey kills bacteria because it is acidic and avoids the complication of wbacterial resistance found with standard antibiotics, Jennifer Eddy, a professor at the University’s School of Medicine and Public Health, said. “This is a tremendously important issue for world health,” Eddy said.Diabetics typically have poor circulation and decreased ability to fight infection and ulcers can be hard to treat. An amputation is performed every 30 seconds somewhere in the world, Eddy said.“If we can prove that honey promotes healing in diabetic ulcers, we can offer new hopes for many patients, not to mention the cost benefit, and the issue of bacterial resistance. The possibilities are tremendous.”
Honey therapy is already used to treat bed sores in New Zealand and as an alternative form of medicine in Europe, but has largely been relegated to history books in the United States. (AFP)
Source: Islamic Voice
Honey and Cinnamon
A MIXTURE FOR CURES
It is found that a mixture of Honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases.
Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world.
Ayurvedic, as well as Yunani medicine, have been using honey as a vital medicine for centuries.
Scientists of today also accept honey as a Ram Ban (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases.
Honey can be used without any side effects for all kinds of diseases.
Today's science says that, even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it will not harm diabetic patients.
A famous magazine named Weekly World News published in Canada dated 17 January, 95 has given a list of diseases that can be cured by Honey and Cinnamon as researched by western scientists.
Take one part honey to two parts of luke warm water and add a small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Make a paste and massage it on the itching part of the body slowly.
The pain should recede within fifteen minutes in most cases.
Arthritis patients can take one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder every day.
If drunk regularly, even chronic arthritis can be cured.
In a recent research done at Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon honey and half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week, out of the 200 people treated, 73 patients were totally relieved of pain within a month. Mostly of these patients could not walk or move around freely, but after the therapy, they started walking with less pain.
Those suffering from hair loss or baldness, may apply a paste of hot olive oil, one tablespoon of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder before a bath and keep it for approximately 15 minutes, and then wash the hair.
It was found very effective if kept for 5 minutes as well.
Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of luke warm water and drink it. It destroys the germs of the bladder.
Make a paste of one teaspoon of cinnamon powder and five teaspoons of honey, and apply on the aching tooth. This may be done 3 times a day (daily) till such time, that the tooth has stopped aching.
Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of cinnamon powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea, when given to a cholesterol patient, reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10% within 2 hours.
As mentioned for arthritic patients - If taken 3 times a day, it lowers the cholesterol level.
As per the information received in a Medical Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.
Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon of luke warm honey with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder daily for 3 days.
This process will cure most chronic cough, cold and clear the sinuses.
Yunani and Ayurvedic have been using honey for years in medicine to strengthen the semen of men.
If impotent men regularly take two tablespoons of honey before sleeping, their problem will be solved.
In China, Japan and the Far East, women who do not conceive, and to strengthen the uterus, have been taking cinnamon powder for centuries.
Women who cannot conceive may take a pinch of cinnamon powder in half a teaspoon of honey, and apply it on the gums frequently throughout the day, so that it slowly mixes with the saliva and enters the body.
A couple in Maryland (USA) had no children for 14 years and had left hope of having a child of their own. When told about this process, both husband and wife started taking honey and cinnamon as stated above, The wife conceived after a few months and had twins at full term.
Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from the root.
GAS : According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that honey, if taken with cinnamon powder, relieves gas and pain in the stomach.
Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder. Apply on bread or chapatti instead of jelly and jam, and eat it regularly for breakfast.
It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from the risk of a heart attack.
For those who have had an attack in the past, follow this process daily and avoid the risk of another attack.
Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heartbeat.
In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have discovered that the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged. Honey and Cinnamon improves blood flow.
Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks.
Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts.
Constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacteria and viral diseases.
Cinnamon powder sprinkled on 2 tablespoons of honey taken before food, relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.
A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ingredient which kills influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.
Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, and when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age.
Take 4 spoons of honey, 1 spoon of cinnamon powder and 3 cups of water and boil to make like tea.
Drink 1/4 cup, 3 to 4 times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age.
Life span also increases, and you begin to feel younger!
Take three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it the next morning with warm water. If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the root.
Eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections are cured by applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts.
Every morning, on an empty stomach, half an hour before breakfast, and again at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup water.
If taken regularly it reduces the weight of even the most obese person.
Also drinking of this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body, even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.
Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully.
Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder for one month, 3 times a day and continue with the Oncologist’s treatment. No harm lost!
Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful than detrimental to one’s body strength.
Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon power in equal parts are more alert and flexible.
Dr. Milton, who has carried out extensive research on this subject, says that, half a tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder taken daily after brushing, and again in the afternoon around 3.00 p.m. when the vitality of the body starts decreasing, increases the vitality of the body within a week.
People of South America:
The first thing in the morning they gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water. so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.
LOSS OF HEARING
Honey and Cinnamon powder taken in equal parts daily, restores hearing.
While you try the therapy…
Forward this and let others also benefit.
Managing Your Weight Through the Sunnah
Our relationship with food can at times be a grievous one. Counting calories and weighing ourselves constantly can make the eating process a burden rather than something to enjoy. Taking time to become more aware of what we eat does not necessarily mean restricting our diet to a certain type of food intake. It’s more about giving attention to how we eat. This concentrates more on the process rather than the food itself.
Dr. Wail Abu Hendi is a psychologist with interests in dieting, obesity, and slimness, as well as eating disorders. Abu Hendi believes that modifying eating behaviour is more effective to accomplish weight loss than traditional dieting methods. Abu Hendi developed a therapeutic behavioural program for patients in Egypt suffering from obesity and extreme slimness. This therapeutic behavioural program was designed in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).
Eating can be looked upon as not only something pleasurable, but also as an act of worship. Thus, our Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized the concept of food as an act of worship by performing ablution prior to eating just like for prayers, as well as having the intention—niyyah—of seeking Allah’s favour.
Like other acts of worship, this form of worship shouldn’t take up too much time. Dr. Abu Hendi says that we begin to feel full (satiated) after twenty minutes of eating, regardless of the amount of food we have consumed, so dedicating approximately 30 minutes to each meal would be better than wolfing it down. Also, eating should not be made a secondary activity while watching television or listening to music in order not to avert your attention from the food unnecessarily.
Duties, Sunnah, and Manners
The first duty in Islam concerning eating is ensuring that the food is both permissible (halal) and comes from a permissible source. You should also feel satisfied with what Allah has provided you and believe that these provisions are a blessing from Allah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) once told `Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), "O Ali! There are twelve rules a Muslim must learn to adhere to before the table (of food), four of which are duties, four of which are Sunnah, and four of which are manners. Knowing what you eat and its source, mentioning Allah’s name prior to eating, being grateful for provisions, and being content with them are duties. Sitting on the left foot, eating with three fingers, eating from the food closer to you, and licking the fingers (used while eating) are Sunnah. Restricting the size of each mouthful of food, chewing very well, refraining from looking people in the face, and washing the hands (afterwards) are of manners."
Good or Bad?
It is best to eat three times a day (or twice if fasting), and try to eat a variety of foods; do not shun bread, rice, fruit, or other foods in their natural form. Classifying foods as good or bad according to the calories they contain can lead to depriving the body of essential needs, which may drive the body to react adversely. Severely depriving the body of calories may result in cases of binge eating (excessive overeating), or nocturnal eating where a person gets up at night half asleep, heads to the kitchen, and begins eating large amounts of foods that were originally avoided during the day.
Try to change your usual sitting position while eating. So, following in the footsteps of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) try sitting either on both knees or on your left leg while keeping the right one upright. It’s best not to change the position you choose before you finish eating. If this position does not suit you, particularly at the beginning, then you may take the position you prefer most, but try not to lean on anything. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would seat himself attentively before food.
First and foremost say "bismillah" (in the name of Allah) before your first mouthful. It would be preferable to begin your meal with some fruit. If you wish to use the first three fingers on your right hand (starting with the thumb), try as much as possible not to involve the last two fingers while eating to buffer yourself against overeating. Incorporating the fingers into the eating process has several merits, including increased awareness of the food you eat and pleasure from enjoying the food’s texture.
Avoid using your left hand while eating unless you are left-handed, though you may use it to peel fruits or separate meat from bones. In any case make sure that your left hand does not carry any food up to your mouth (due to explicit and strict cautioning against this in the Sunnah).
A merit of using just one hand while eating is to decrease the amount of food a person consumes, in addition to increase awareness of the food one is eating. Each time you notice your left hand involved in the eating process you should pull it back and attempt to complete eating with just one hand. This will help prevent slipping into excessive eating. Training yourself to adhere to this procedure may not be easy at first, but repetition and ongoing trials along with your persistence to follow the Sunnah will gradually facilitate the matter.
After bringing something to your mouth with your right hand, do not extend your hand once again to the plate before properly chewing and swallowing your food. This may be very difficult at the beginning, but this is the fashion by which the Prophet (peace be upon him) ate. Gulping down food without proper chewing, or eating in a hurry is not healthy. This is an important reason behind obesity and overeating. Since the feeling of satiety comes after twenty minutes of eating, we must train ourselves to chew food properly and not to reach out for more food before finishing what’s already in our mouths.
After finishing your meal, it is sunnah to lick the three fingers you used while eating. Do not be disgusted to lick your fingers, if you used them, after you finish eating, since these fingers carried the food to your mouth.
After you finish your meal, thank Allah and express your gratitude to Him, for this is an imperative duty.
After a meal, the sunnah is to wash your hands and mouth, and it is preferable to renew your ablution.
The above steps are guidelines for those who wish to keep in shape and maintain their ideal weight. These steps do not involve resorting to the pains of modern dieting, and rely completely on the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). This diet has no negative side effects since it preaches responding to our bodies’ signals, by eating when we feel hungry and only when we feel hungry.
Dr Wail Abu Hendi is a psychologist with an MD from the University of ZagaZig’s Faculty of Medicine. He is the author of several books discussing issues of religion and psychology. He is also a prime contributor of the Arabic web site Maganin.com.
Consumer groups and dieticians have hailed proposed amendments to food labelling legislation as progressive, saying the changes would encourage a "healthier" nation.
However, they remain concerned about how the law will be policed, and say that loopholes may allow the makers of food supplements to continue making "outrageous" claims.
The 80-page draft regulations under the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act 54 of 1972 were released last week by the department of health for public comment.
The due date for submissions is October 20
Under the proposed regulations, foods classified as "not considered essential for a healthy diet" - such as sweets, chocolates and sweetened food or drinks, and sports drinks - may not make any health or nutritional claims on their packaging or advertising.
The regulations ban adverts, toys and cartoons that encourage children to eat junk food and unhealthy snacks. Cartoon characters, child actors and toys or gifts may not be used to market these foods to children.
Jane Badham, a spokesperson for the Association of Dietetics of South Africa, said dieticians welcomed the long-awaited draft regulations that would deal with many issues to ensure consumers were informed about the composition of foods.
"This is a contribution towards addressing the health concerns of not only obesity, but also heart diseases and diabetes, which are increasing among all South Africans.
"We are, however, concerned that the regulations will tightly regulate some categories of foods and control unsubstantiated health claims, which is good news, yet does not make the labelling of all pre-packaged foods with basic nutrition information - such as energy, carbohydrates, protein, fat and sodium - mandatory. This is a major gap," she said.
'This is a major gap'
It would be impossible, for example, for dieters to differentiate between the nutritional content of products as there would be a ban on displaying the products' nutrient contents.
"These draft regulations will bring more control regarding foods, but we remain concerned that there remains a complete lack of regulations when it comes to the plethora of supplements making outrageous claims," Badham said.
Thami Bolani, the chairperson of the National Consumer Forum, said the regulations were progressive but the law needed policing, and consumers had to be educated for them to be effective.
"We support this 100 percent. However, the challenge for poor people is a language issue, so how do you convey this message to them so they can make the right decisions?
"A second challenge is that our system is quite lax when it comes to putting sanctions on people who don't comply, so we need to know what we are going to do with them. Self-regulation can be problematic because many people can get away with non-compliance."
Bolani said that advertising by the liquor industry in poor communities that were rife with domestic violence also needed to be regulated.
Nick Tselentis, the Legal and Regulatory Manager for the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, said the industry had not examined the regulations holistically, but was meeting to discuss them.
Unilever spokesperson Christine Broadhurst said: "We are studying the regulations and will forward our comments to the Department of Health as there are several changes in this draft compared to the first draft, and compared to the existing legislation."
Water-A Gift From Allah
Water is a basic essential of life and it is from among the many countless bounties of Allah Ta’ala. It is through the mercy of our Maker and Creator that he has bestowed mankind with this great ni’mat (bounty) of water; and mankind is unable to survive without it. In fact, not only is mankind dependent on it, but every living thing is directly dependent on it for survival. The Noble Qur’an categorically states in Surah An Nur that Allah Ta’ala has created every living thing with water.
People generally live where water is found, such as, near dams, rivers, lakes and even streams. Cities, towns, villages and settlements were founded where water was readily available. Makkah is a typical example - barren land, unproductive and unsuitable for human habitation, arid and desert conditions; but Zam Zam turned the place into the world’s most visited spiritual destination. It is also intriguing to note that Muslims, the world over, source Zam Zam (to take back home) from the very place that was once barren. Scientists are unanimous on the point that wherever water is to be found – even on other planets – then there is hope of the survival of man.
The amount of water available on earth is phenomenal. Seventy five percent of the earth is surrounded by water from the oceans. In addition, the dry lands have huge pockets of water in the form of dams, rivers, lakes and streams. Snow-capped mountains, glaciers and tons of ice formed on land is in reality, water. The clouds suspended above us and the moisture in the form of dew and fog are all considered as water. Hence, in whichever direction we look, we are surrounded by water.
As human beings, seventy percent of our bodies is composed of water and the air we breathe is also has a small percentage of water. The composition of the body is made up of a variety of particles and vital organs, of which water plays perhaps the most important function in its movements. Blood is in circulation throughout the body; however, water plays a great role in its sustainability.
Every insect and animal has a high percentage of water their bodies, and in some cases, more than seventy five percent. Land animals are also totally dependent on water to survive. Dehydration can be the cause of death when the body is starved of sufficient water. Therefore, the fountain of water is essentially the gateway of every living creature on this planet.
'Even light exercise' aids health
* Exercising on just three days a week could have health benefits
* Even low levels of weekly exercise could help reduce blood pressure and improve fitness, scientists say.
Experts say walking for half an hour, five days a week, is the minimum required to achieve health benefits.
But a Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health report from Ireland found walking on just three days a week gave similar benefits.
The finding could encourage those with sedentary lifestyles to take up exercise gradually, the authors say.
This could be helpful as few people currently meet the minimum recommendations for exercise, with many saying they do not have enough time.
Blood pressure drops
The study, led by researchers at Queen's University, Belfast, looked at 106 healthy but sedentary civil servants aged between 40 and 61.
The participants took part in a 12 week exercise programme - some were assigned to do 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week, others did it three days a week, and the rest did not change their lifestyles.
In all, 93 people completed the study and their blood pressure, weight and hip circumferences, and other indicators of fitness were all measured before and after the 12-week programme.
There were no changes in the non-walking group, but in both walking groups there was a significant drop in blood pressure and waist and hip measurements.
This could reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
All walkers also had improved overall fitness.
Five days minimum
The authors said such changes were enough to make a difference to an individual's risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
And they concluded: "The results may encourage people who feel they do not have time to exercise on five days each week to consider finding time to commit to a lower weekly target of exercise."
Dr Mark Tully, lead author of the research at Queen's University, Belfast said exercising five days a week should still be the minimum goal, as it had greater positive effects on blood pressure.
But he said: "To get to that goal the first hurdle could be to exercise three days a week - it's a more achievable target to build up from.
"And people would still be getting benefits."
But he said more research was needed to assess the long-term effects of these levels of exercise.
Blood pressure could be lowered by even light exercise
Ellen Mason, a cardiac nurse for the British Heart Foundation, said the study was a reminder that blood pressure could be reduced even through simple activities, such as brisk walking.
She said: "As this study suggests, the best results can be achieved through exercising for 30 minutes a day, five times a week.
"However, benefits can also be had from exercising three times a week.
"Doing any physical activity is better than doing none."
And Ken Fox, professor of health and exercise sciences at the University of Bristol, said it was "good news" that exercising three days a week had health benefits, but that exercising five days would still be better.
He said: "The message is to exercise five times a week, so you're doing something most days.
"It would be a mistake to change the recommendations from one study."
- Source: BBC
Eating for two puts unborn child at risk of junk addiction
Pregnant women who overindulge in junk food risk giving their child an addiction for a fatty, sugary and salty diet, according to researchers who studied the phenomenon in rats. The study counters the notion that mothers-to-be can safely overindulge because they are "eating for two".
Although the effect on rats may not necessarily be found in people, the research does back up a US study of 190,000 families published in 2005. It found that women who gained more weight during pregnancy than the US Institute of Medicine's recommended amount - 11.5 to 16 kilos (2 to 2.5 stone) - were more likely to have obese two to four-year-olds.
Neil Stickland at the UK's Royal Veterinary College and his team fed pregnant and breast-feeding rats on either a balanced diet or processed food such as doughnuts, muffins, biscuits, crisps and sweets. They then gave the offspring a choice of diets. The mothers who ate the high fat, sugar and salt diet gave birth to young with a greater preference for junk food. They also had a propensity to overeat and to put on more weight.
"They eat more and they eat an increasing proportion of junk food. It gets worse as the animals gets bigger," said Prof Stickland.
"Women may not consider pregnancy and breast-feeding as an opportunity to over-indulge on fatty, sugary and salty foods, on the misguided assumption that they are 'eating for two'," the team warn in the British Journal of Nutrition. The study was funded by the Wellcome Trust.
Prof Stickland added that programmes to improve the diet of children at primary school, while important, may be too late. "I think the message is that we have got to start before that during pregnancy."
The research did not address how the changes in offspring occur. However, Prof Stickland speculated that a mother's junk food diet might affect the development of reward centres in the brain involved in the feeling of satiety and response to drugs. "The foetus is getting used to the high fat, sugary and high salt diet and seems to prime the reward centres in the brain so it needs more when it is born," he said, "It's an addiction if you like."
Islam has always emphasised the importance of cleanliness and hygiene, including the emphasis on regular washing of hands. As Muslims we wash our hands during wudu - the ablution before Salaah (prayers) - and Salaah is compulsory five times a day. We also note that Rasulullaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam would also perform khilaal or letting the water pass through the fingers as well. Studies show that many people are careless regarding the fingers when washing the hands.
In addition to washing for prayers and to attain ritual purity, Rasulullaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam has also taught us to wash our hands before and after eating. The importance of washing one's private parts and hands after using the toilet is instilled in Muslims from childhood. Science only recently began to appreciate the significance of this basic act of cleanliness and the harms of ignoring it.
It is now proven that harmful restroom micro-organisms evade current controls and find their way into the food preparation and serving process. The term, "Faecal-hand-oral" refers to the process of workers not washing their hands after using the toilet. They then transmit food-borne diseases to the mouths of third parties via their hands. This is the major cause food-borne disease in food operations.
In the past decade, most food safety focus has been on bacterial contamination such as E Coli and Salmonella. However, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (USA) has found that poor hand-hygiene and viruses cause more food-borne disease than bacteria.
International Hygiene Council
The underlying message of the International Hygiene Council with regards to personal hygiene and preventing the spread of germs and infections is quite simple. People should stick to the basics. Dr Kgosi Letlape - chairperson of the South African Medical Association and International Hygiene member - said, "It is quite frightening how the basics have been lost…the basics of hand-washing are no longer taught in homes, parents need to lead by example."
According to Letlape, hygiene is a major mechanism of defence and good hygiene practices have the "ability to break the chain of infection," he said.
In a recent global Hygiene Survey it was found that nearly 70 percent of South Africans run the risk of transmitting dangerous infections, for according to the survey, they did not wash their hands "at key germ transmission points".
The Hygiene Survey conducted in South Africa involved 1 000 participants - 500 male and 500 female participants being a cross-sectional sample from all social groups. The survey contained nine questions to determine people's attitudes towards hygiene issues.
The focus for the Hygiene Council for 2007 in South Africa is hands hygiene. This involves creating awareness on the importance of hand washing and promoting the correct hand washing procedures.
Professor Barry Schoub - executive director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and International Hygiene Council member - outlined the fact that hygiene is a powerful tool in "preventing individuals from getting infected in the first place."
In one of South Africa's most tragic cases in 2004, six premature babies died at the Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein after being fed intravenously on a contaminated nutritional mixture. A seventh baby survived. The mixture had been prepared at the hospital's pharmacy. An investigation found that a tradesman had washed his hands in the pharmacy's basin. The pharmacy assistant had then failed to disinfect the basin before mixing the babies' food. Postmortem tests showed that the babies had died from septicaemia caused by Enterobacter bacteria, which had caused their organs to bleed.
Salmaan al-Faarisi radiyallaahu 'anhu narrated:
I read in the Tawraah that the blessings of food lie in washing after eating. I spoke to Rasulullaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam and mentioned to him what I had read in the Tawraah. He responded, "The blessings of food lie in washing before and washing after eating."
[Ash-Shamaail lit-Tirmizii, Chapter on the ablution of Rasulullaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam.]
Mawlana Zakariyaa Kandalwi commented on this Hadith, "The Tawraah may only have mentioned washing after eating. The washing before was added to the Shari'ah of Rasulullaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam. Allaah revealed laws which were not in the previous Shari'ahs. Another possibility is that the Tawraah did mention both washes, but since changes were made to it the law of washing before eating was removed."
"Ulamaa have explained that the blessings of washing before eating mean an increase in food and satisfaction from hunger. The blessings of washing after eating mean the benefits and intentions of eating are fulfilled i.e. it becomes part of the body, creates energy and stamina, assists in strengthening one to perform acts of worship and to possess good manners."
Obedience to the Sunnah of Rasulullaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam carries untold blessings and benefits whether we perceive them or not. In addition to the blessings Mawlana Zakariyya mentioned, science now belatedly proves the harms one may suffer if one ignores this command of Rasulullaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam.
May Allah grant us the ability to appreciate the personality, practices and commands of Rasulullaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam.
According to the statistics of the World Health Organization and the UN AIDS Committee a quarter of the total population of one third of African countries is HIV-positive. In another third almost ten per cent of people are struck by this fatal disease. The situation is gradually getting worse: AIDS as well as other infections cause the death of millions of people every year. The end of the millennium is very tragic for Africa.
While many experts of various world centers and funds spend time and money to improve the situation, the very fact that the disease spreads rapidly in some particular areas has been ignored so far. Even a quick glance on the map shows that the least spread of AIDS is observed where the influence of Islam is very great. This situation is observed in Egypt, Algeria, Morocco andother states of Magrib where almost all population is Islamic. In such countries as Chad, Mali, Nigeria, and Guinea which are located further south and where more than half of the population is Muslims, the rate of HIV-positive (less that 10%) is quite low according to the African standards.
The Somali phenomenon is also very interesting. It might seem that his country which suffers from starvation and destruction and which has been at civil war for several years will provide most favourable conditions for the spread of AIDS, but Somali demonstrates a surprisingly low rate of the sick people in spite of the fact that it is surrounded by the countries which are heavily struck by the epidemic. It is one of the few countries with less that 1 % of people having AIDS.
One may object to that by saying that matters are much more complicated. For example, there are Jibuti where Muslims prevail and Ethiopia where almost half of the population practices Islam that joined the blacklist of countries with the greatest number of HIV-positive. However, there are such non-Islamic states as Cote d'Ivoire and Togo. Being surrounded by healthier Muslim neighbours, these countries are among the states with the lowest rate of those suffering from 'the plague of the 20th century'. The situation in these countries can be explained by their local peculiarities and historical conditions, and can be regarded as an exception.
Scientists have observed the following regularity: as we move down south on the African continent, the number of Muslims decreases while the number of HIV-positive steadily increases. It is astonishing that AIDS is regarded by the population as an ordinary respiratory infection in the countries where animism and local varieties of Christianity dominate.
What is the cause of this regularity and does it exist at all? Could it be accounted for by the fact that judging by the African standards Islamic countries have more developed economy and culture? Yes, it could. The North-African countries may be superior to their neighbours economically and culturally. But it is true only of the regions around big urban centers. There is no doubt that the life of an Egyptian fellah, for instance, doesn't differ much from that of a South-African Zulu. Moreover, the figures provided by sociologists prove that the newly risen big cities have become the hotbeds of the disease. Probably, the cause of such a tragic situation should be looked for elsewhere.
Many African countries have gained independence recently. The traditional cults have lost competition with the 'fruits' of civilization being imposed on the Africans. It has resulted in breaking the well-established relations and traditional taboos. The similar situation was observed in Islamic African countries, but diseases and infections didn't spread so rapidly there.
The principles of Islam are still preserved in everyday life in those countries where Muslims prevail. Despite a large number of tourists who have come flooding in lately, it hasn't led to moral degradation. On the contrary, there is the rise of Islam in these countries. Islam doesn't separate the life of its followers into secular and spiritual because it regulates all the aspects of their life. Special attention is paid to household relations which have all a certain the religious meaning. It concerns especially the relationships between the sexes. Even those who do not keep to the rules, but live among the Muslims find themselves in the atmosphere filled with faith and submission.
There is no need to speak about the outbreak of extreme moral freedom in Tunis and Morocco where the Shariat rules are often ignored and even openly violated. Nowadays homosexuals and drug addiction are exceptions. Hence there is no ground for the epidemics. Moreover, following the hygienic and sanitary norms of Islam brings its results. Those who practice Islam have to perform the ritual ablutions. They are to look after the food quality carefully, the consumption of raw meat and carrion is forbidden, etc. Of course, it won't protect people from AIDS, but it will protect them against other dangerous infections. It is the absence of sanitary norms in Africa that was the cause of the epidemics which threatened the whole world.
There is another argument in favour of Islam. Having deeply rooted on the African continent, it has been struggling against pagan superstitions, their cruel rituals and tribal conflicts which hamper the epidemic prevention.
The Muslims of Africa stick to the rules of the religion in their family and personal life. The Shariat principles are actively introduced into civilian life, and it is supported by the population. The victory of the Islamic party in Tunis is still well-remembered. There are also forces in Egypt who support the introducing of the Shariat norms into legislation. And Sudan ceased to have the Islamic government only a few years ago. The Head of the World Organization of the Islamic Appeal is M. Kaddafi, the leader of Libya.
Thus, the religion is the main factor that holds back the spread of the fatal disease. The Muslims and Africans as well as the Europeans benefit from this, the latter feeling relatively safe from the export of the infection to Europe form the Islamic states of Africa.
Taken from www.alhaadi.org.za
Tuna, and other fatty, dark-skinned fish, came out tops.
Fatty fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Research suggests that the omega-3s can also play a role in preventing conditions like hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, depression, dry eye syndrome, and possibly cancer. These are all diseases that affect a staggering number of people across the globe.
Make a plan to eat fatty fish at least two to three times a week. Just make sure you lay off on the batter and added fat.
A single egg is packed with goodness. And while eggs do contain cholesterol, the effect is not as detrimental as scientists once believed.
For as little as 75 calories, an egg provides 12% of the daily recommended value for protein, as well as a wide variety of other nutrients such as vitamin A, B6, B12, D, folate, iron, phosphorous and zinc.
On top of this, the humble egg is now also categorised as a "functional food", i.e. a food that provides health benefits beyond its basic nutritional benefits.
The key is the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, found in egg yolks. These substances collect in parts of the eye and have been shown to play a role in promoting vision and preventing some common causes of blindness.
A word of warning though: make sure your cholesterol levels are normal before you start including more eggs in your diet. You may be suffering from high cholesterol without knowing it.
However, if your cholesterol levels have been tested and are normal, two or three eggs per week could boost your health. Just remember to opt for poached, boiled or scrambled eggs instead of fried ones.
Baked beans, black beans, lima beans, kidney beans. Eating plenty of beans can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke and help prevent cancer, researchers say.
This is mostly due to the fact that beans are a rich source of antioxidants. A variety of veggies, fruits, legumes and nuts recently battled it out for the top spot on a new list of the 20 most antioxidant-rich foods. The small red bean came out tops, and red kidney beans and pinto beans weren't far behind.
A serving (one-third cup of cooked beans) contains about 80 calories, little fat, no cholesterol, and plenty of complex carbohydrates. These legumes also provide a good source of B vitamins, potassium and fibre.
Legumes make a great side dish and can also be used as a substitute for meat. While legumes don't contain complete proteins such as meat, you could supplement your diet by eating grain or dairy products along with legumes. This is particularly useful in the diet of the vegetarian.
Here's a bit of good news for chocoholics: the delicious treat could lower your risk for heart disease and hypertension.
It looks like cocoa exerts its positive effect mainly in three ways: firstly, by keeping the endothelium (the layer of cells that lines the heart and blood vessels) healthy, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks; secondly, by lowering blood pressure, which is also related to heart disease; and thirdly, by modulating platelet function in a similar way as aspirin does.
However, the key ingredients in cocoa, what scientists call flavanols, are only present in dark chocolate.
Although more research needs to be done, it's probably safe to say that a small helping (10 g) of good-quality chocolate every day could do no harm – if the chocolate is of the darker variety, and if it forms part of an energy-controlled diet.
5. Brazil nuts
Due to Brazil nuts' high selenium content, these nuts can be seen as a "complete" protein source.
This means that, unlike the proteins in most plant products, Brazil nuts' proteins contain all the necessary amino acids to foster optimal growth in humans in the same way as proteins from animal products do. But even animal products, like chicken and beef, don't contain as much selenium as Brazil nuts do.
Selenium is also a powerful antioxidant. And Brazil nuts are also a very good source of zinc (essential to digestion and metabolism).
Eight medium Brazil nuts count as one serving (30 g). Since these nuts are high in fat, they shouldn't be included in the diet more than three times per week. These nuts should also replace other fats in the diet and shouldn't just be added.
Note, however, that, because of its high saturated fat content, Brazil nuts could be a dangerous addition to your diet if you are at risk of heart disease. Rather opt for nuts with less fat, like almonds, if this is the case.
Garlic is not only a great way to add a little kick to a pasta dish; it also offers tremendous health benefits.
Research has shown that garlic could help prevent heart disease, hypertension and cancer, and can possibly improve lung function. Garlic is also a great way to boost one's immunity – especially in wintertime.
Include a clove or two of garlic in your diet every day. Just make sure that the garlic isn't overcooked. And steer clear of garlic if you're on anti-coagulant medication.
Yoghurt not only contains bone-building calcium, but is also a great source of probiotics.
Probiotics are microbial foods or supplements that can be used to change or improve the intestinal bacterial balance to boost the health of the host. Probioics thwart the overgrowth of harmful bacteria by competing for attachment sites and nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract.
Include a tub of fat-free or low-fat yoghurt in your diet every day – just make sure the label states "live AB cultures".
You probably know that citrus fruits are a fantastic source of vitamin C, but did you know that oranges, naartjies, lemons and grapegruit are all also rich in antioxidants?
Citrus contains zeaxathin (like eggs) that maintains healthy vision. These fruits are rich in flavanones that play a role in preventing cancer. Citrus fruits also contain caffeic acid that may reduce the risk of heart disease and eye disease.
A variety of delicious citrus fruits are available in South Africa. Depending on the season, try to include citrus fruits in your diet as often as possible.
Research has shown that high-potassium foods, of which the banana is a prime example, may lower the risk of stroke.
Potassium also plays a vital role in the functioning of the muscles, heart and nerves. It ensures that the body’s fluid levels remain balanced and that the body is neither too alkaline nor too acidic. It also prevents calcium from being lost in the urine.
Eating bananas before bedtime can also make for a good night's sleep, as bananas help to increase serotonin levels. To top these benefits, bananas help to maintain bowel health and are good energy-boosting snacks.
Cranberries are packed with proanthocyanidins that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and improve urinary tract health. New research shows that cranberry juice may also work against gastrointestinal viruses.
Drink 300 ml cranberry juice every day to reap the benefits.- (Carine van Rooyen, Health24)
Researchers found that adults whose spouses rated them high on the "antagonism" scale were more likely to have calcium build-up in their heart arteries, an indicator of artery-clogging plaque. The relationship was mainly apparent in older, rather than middle-aged, adults.
How the study was conducted
The study subjects included 300 middle-aged and older married couples in which neither spouse had been diagnosed with coronary heart disease.
Dr Timothy W. Smith and colleagues at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City had participants answer questions about their own temperament and that of their spouses.
The researchers also used CT scans to gauge the amount of calcium in study participants' arteries. Calcium is a component of the plaques that harden and narrow the coronary arteries in people with heart disease. A high calcium "score" indicates elevated risks of heart attack and stroke.
As mentioned, people with higher antagonism scores, based on their spouses' answers to a standard questionnaire, were more likely to have significant calcium build-up in their arteries. However, when Smith's team considered study participants' own ratings of their temperament, there was no link between hostility and coronary calcium.
In contrast, no plaque build-up was observed in people whose hostility was mainly characterised by outbursts of anger.
Reasons still unclear
More research, they note, is needed to understand why argumentative people might have a higher heart disease risk.
Other researchers have theorised that chronic hostility may contribute to heart problems both directly and indirectly. Negative emotions have physiological effects, like raising blood pressure and stirring up stress hormones, which can take a toll on the cardiovascular system over time.
In addition, people with hostile personalities may be resistant to adopting healthy habits or following medical advice.
SOURCE: Psychosomatic Medicine, June 2007. – (ReutersHealth)
After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.
Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose
combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial
boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough
energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the
number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the
only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or
prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must
to add to our daily diet.
Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people
suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana.
This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the
body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood
and generally make you feel happier.
PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates
blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin
in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium
yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the
US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to
make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood
pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped
through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and
lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the
potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help
restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without
resorting to laxatives.
Hangovers: One of the quickest
ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with
honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey,
builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and
re-hydrates your system.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you
suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood
sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness
Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the
affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it
amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria
found pressure at wor k leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate
and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most
obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded
that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood
sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to
keep levels steady.
Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal
disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw
fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also
neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of
Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit
that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant
mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure
their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because
they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up
smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium
found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat,
sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance When we
are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium
levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana
Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine,
eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by
strokes by as much as 40%!
Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill
off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the
yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it
to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three
times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the
other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of
the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known
phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"
PASS IT ON TO YOUR FRIENDS
PS: Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time! I will
add one here; want a quick shine on our shoes?? Take the INSIDE of the
banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe...polish with dry cloth. Amazing
Diabetes Mellitus and Ramadan Fasting
By Dr Shahid Athar
Fasting during Ramadan should have a potentially beneficial effect with regard to diabetic control.
Ramadan is a month of self-regulation and self-training, with the hope that this training will last beyond the end of Ramadan. If the lessons learnt during Ramadan, whether in terms of dietary intake or righteousness, are carried on after Ramadan, it is beneficial for one’s entire life. Moreover, the type of food taken during Ramadan does not have any selective criteria of crash diets such as those which are protein only or fruit only type diets. Everything that is permissible is taken in moderate quantities.
Diabetes Mellitus and Ramadan Fasting
Diabetes mellitus affects people of all faiths. Muslims are no exception. Many diabetic Muslims have a desire to fast during the month of Ramadan, although if they cannot for health reasons, they have a valid exemption. The dilemma for physicians and Muslim scholars is whether or not Muslim diabetic patients (1) should be allowed to fast if they decide to; (2) can fast safely; (3) can be helped to fast if they decide to; (4) can have their disease monitored at home; and (5) are going to derive any benefit or harm to their health. Fasting during Ramadan by a Muslim diabetic patient is only a privilege to be allowed by his physician, at the patient’s request, knowing all the dangers and assuming full responsibility in dietary compliance and glucose monitoring, with good communication between the physician and the patient.
Psychological State of Diabetes during Ramadan
Diabetes mellitus itself adversely affects patients’ psychological states by changes in glucose metabolism, blood and CSF osmolality, needs for discipline and compliance, fear of long term complications and threat of hypoglycemic attacks and the possibility of dehydration and coma.
On the other hand, fasting during Ramadan has a tranquilizing effect on the mind, producing inner peace and decrease in anger and hostility. Fasting Muslims realise that manifestations of anger may take away the blessings of fasting or even nullify them. Diabetics know that stress increases the blood glucose by increasing the catecholamine level and any tool to lower the stress; ie., bio-feedback or relaxation improves diabetic control. Thus, Islamic fasting during Ramadan should have a potentially beneficial effect with regard to diabetic control.
Educational Program for Diabetics during Ramadan
It should be directed towards (a) diabetic home management (b) preparing them for Ramadan (c) recognising warning symptoms of dehydration, hypoglycemia and other possible complications.
Patients should be taught home glucose monitoring, checking urine for acetone, doing daily weights, calorie-controlled diabetic diet, need for sleep and normal exercise. They should be able to take pulse, temperature, look for skin infection and notice changes in the sensorium (mental alertness). They should be on special alert for any colicky pain, a sign for renal colic, or hyperventilation, a sign of dehydration, and to be able to seek medical help quickly rather than wait for the next day.
The Medical Benefits of Taraweeh Prayers
Muslims derive therapeutic and spiritual benefits starting from the Wudu to the physical movements in the Salat - Takbir, Qiyam, Ruku, Sajda, Jalsa, and Tasleems. Muslims perform five daily contact prayers (Salat) and voluntary prayers (Sunnah, Nafl) throughout the year and Taraweeh prayers during the month of Ramadan. This results in moderate physical exercise particularly to every muscle in the body.
Some muscles contract isometrically (same length) and some contract in approximation or isotonically (same tension). The energy needed for the muscle during exercise is met by a process known as glycogenolysis. The rate of muscle metabolism increases during the performance of Salat, resulting in a relative deficiency of oxygen and muscle nutrients. In turn this deficiency causes vasodilation - an increase in the calibre of blood vessels - thereby allowing blood to flow easily back to the heart.
The temporarily increased load on the heart acts to strengthen the heart muscle and to improve the circulation within the heart muscle. During the month of Ramadan, additional prayers are performed after salatul Ishaa, called Taraweeh prayers which vary from 8 rakat (unit of prayer) to 20 rakat with a few minutes break after every 4 rakat for chanting and extolling the Majesty of Allah. After Iftar (breaking of fast) the blood glucose level continues to rise from the food ingested. Just before the Iftar meals, the blood glucose and insulin levels are at their lowest level. After an hour or so after the Iftar meal, the blood glucose begins to rise and also plasma insulin. Liver and the muscles take up the circulating glucose. The blood sugar reaches high levels in an hour or two and the benefits of Taraweeh prayers come into effect.
The circulating glucose is metabolised into carbon dioxide and water during the Taraweeh prayers. Hence the Taraweeh prayers help in expending the extra calories and improve flexibility, coordination, reduce stress-related autonomic responses in healthy persons, and relieve anxiety and depression. Physical and Emotional Well-Being The gentle exercises performed in Taraweeh prayers improve physical fitness, emotional well-being and increase the longevity of the Namazi (one who performs the Salat or Namaz). When a little extra effort is made, as in performing the Taraweeh prayers, there will be a betterment in the endurance, stamina, in flexibility and strength. It was noted that the five daily prayers (Salat) produce the same physiological changes without any undesirable side effects as those produced by jogging or walking at about three miles per hour. Recent research studies performed on 17,000 Harvard alumni who entered college between 1916-1950 give strong evidence that only moderate aerobic exercise, equivalent to jogging about 3 miles a day, promotes good health and may actually add years to life. Men who expended about 2000 kcal of energy on a weekly basis (equal to a daily 30-minute walk, run, cycle, swim, etc.,) had one-quarter to one-third lower death rates than classmates who did little or no exercise.
In addition to the health-boosting qualities of the Salat, the Namazi will be trained to be ever ready for any unexpected physical exertion such as sudden lifting of children, chairs, or catching a public transportation vehicle. The elderly will accomplish this more securely and efficiently. Hence this is an advantage for the elderly to maintain their physical fitness for a longer period of time. It has been observed that those who fast and perform the Taraweeh prayers report feeling much convalescing and robust. The Elderly As human beings grow older, their physiological activity diminishes, as a result their bones become thinner and if not taken care of will suffer from osteoporosis (which causes the fractures of the bones when they fall in the elderly due to a loss of bone mineral content and consequent sponginess of the bones. The bone then becomes structurally unstable, brittle and susceptible to fractures). Primary osteoporosis is most common among postmenopausal (due to reduction in oestrogen) women or those who have undergone a bilateral oophorectomy (both the ovaries removed). Women are six times more likely than men to develop Type I osteoporosis.
The three major prevention strategies of osteoporosis are a high dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, regular exercise and oestrogen replacement in postmenopausal women. The skin also becomes fragile and crinkled. The repair processes of the body become slower and immune responses are decreased. In the elderly their physical activity is reduced as a result they have lower levels of Insulin Growth Factor 1. Reserve functions of all vital organs decrease and the elderly are more susceptible to mishaps and ailments. Because of repeated and regular movements of the body during Salat the muscle strength, tendon power, joint flexibility and the cardiovascular reserve are improved. Hence Salat and Taraweeh prayers enable the elderly to enrich the quality of life and to meet with unforeseen difficulties such as falls which could injure their bodies. Therefore Taraweeh prayers will improve their endurance, self-respect and self-confidence in being self-reliant. Adrenaline is secreted even by minor activity.
The secretion outlasts the incitement. Even after the Taraweeh prayers are over the effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline are manifest. (Adrenaline also called epinephrine is produced by the adrenal glands. The middle part of these glands, the adrenal medulla, secretes the hormone, which is chemically almost identical to the transmitter substance noradrenaline produced at the ends of sympathetic nerves. Adrenaline secretion into the bloodstream in stress causes acceleration of the heart, constriction of arterioles, and dilation of the pupils. In addition, adrenaline produces a marked increase in metabolic rate thus preparing the body for emergency.) Even the thought or the intention of performing the Taraweeh prayers is sufficient to activate the sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous system (thoraco-lumbar nervous system) is one of the two division of the autonomic nervous system, which supplies motor nerves to the smooth muscles of internal organs and to the heart muscle. Sympathetic nerve fibres arise via spinal nerves in the thoracic and lumbar regions.
Their endings release mainly adrenaline, which increases heart rate and breathing rate, raises blood pressure, and slows digestive processes, thereby preparing the body for "fight or flight" and antagonising the effects of the sympathetic nervous system. The adrenaline would redistribute the blood in the body to the active muscles, would mobilise liver glycogen if necessary in order to provide glucose for the active tissues, would diminish fatigue in skeletal muscles and would facilitate alveolar ventilation relaxing bronchiolar muscle, and would initiate cardiovascular changes. Exercise induces a more effective functioning of beta-adrenoreceptors located on cell membranes. Beneficial effects of Gentle Exercise The Taraweeh prayer is considered to be gentle exercise. The beneficial effects of gentle exercise on the body are many which are elaborated here. Effects on Skeletal Muscle Once muscles atrophy inspite of the availability of ample proteins. During the Salat and Taraweeh, every muscle in the body contracts isotnically and others isometrically. This gentle exercise also enhances endurance and diminishes tiredness. It helps the incapacitated to make the most of their remnant capabilities. The blood flow in strung muscle is low.
During the prayers the blood flow is greatly increased to the muscles. Blood flow sometimes increases even before the start of Taraweeh prayers, with just the thought of performing the Taraweeh prayers. In addition to needing fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, the human body requires minerals such as Potassium for nerve and muscle activity. It is found in fruits, meats, seafood and milk. Potassium deficiency leads to muscular and neurologic disorders. Potassium is also important in the transmission of nerve impulses and is a major positive ion in intracellular fluids. Potassium is involved in cellular enzyme activities, and it helps regulate the chemical reactions by which carbohydrates is converted to energy and amino acids are converted to protein. Also Potassium ions cause vasodilation of arterioles.
During the Taraweeh prayers, systolic Blood pressure may rise (the larger number in B.P.) a little and the diastolic Blood Pressure(the lower number in B.P.) may remain unchanged or even fall. However after the Taraweeh prayers are over, the B.P. may drop to just below normal levels which is a welcome sign. Taraweeh prayers improve respiratory efficiency; circulation in the capillaries surrounding the alveoli, or air sacs, is increased, and this brings about enhanced gas exchange and deeper breathing. The increase in the maximal consumption of oxygen is what makes the Namazi feel better. Those who perform the Taraweeh prayers, apart from the prescribed Salat, are more alert and active than those who do not perform the Taraweeh prayers, even after the age of retirement. Taraweeh prayers improve physical strength and joint stability and reduce the risk of injury to the tendons and connective tissues. After age 40, the bone mineral density falls with age.
Taraweeh prayers increase bone mineral density in both menopausal and in elderly women and prevents osteoporosis and maintains normalcy in bone structures. Osteoporosis results in hip fractures in women after menopause and in elderly men. The risk of osteoporosis is substantially reduced by regular Salat and Taraweeh prayers. The prayers improve lubrication of joints, movement, and maintain flexibility. Deep vein thrombosis (the most common cause of ulceration of the legs in the elderly) is prevented by performing Salat and Taraweeh prayers. Metabolic Effects Salat improves body weight control and expend calories without proportionate increase in appetite. A combination of moderate dietary restriction, both at the Iftar and Sahur (early morning breakfast before the start of fast) meals, accompanied by the Taraweeh prayers, should achieve weight reduction. This will also reduce both fat and body weight, but fat-free weight will remain constant or may even increase slightly. Hence during Ramadan one should not overeat at the Sahur and Iftar meals and continue to perform Salat and Taraweeh prayers in order to lose some of the excess weight.
It is well known that exercise prevents coronary heart disease (CHD), increases high density lipo-proteins (HDL or healthy Cholesterol), increases maximum oxygen uptake, slows the heart, lowers the B.P. slightly, decreases ventricular ectopic activity, enlarges the lumen of the coronary arteries and increases cardiac output. Exercise also improves carbohydrate tolerance and improves late-onset diabetes, and helps cases of chronic respiratory diseases. Beneficial changes have been recorded in the lipid profile, B.P., clotting factors, weight reduction and insulin sensitivity of muscles and other tissues in persons who exercise regularly. Growth Hormone secretion is elevated by fasting and it is further elevated by Taraweeh prayers.
As Growth Hormone is necessary for collagen formation, this may be an important factor as to why the skin of those who fast regularly during Ramadan and perform the Taraweeh prayers do not get wrinkled, even when they grow old. Mental Health It is a known fact that exercise improves mood, thought and behaviour. Exercise improves the quality of life, induces greater sense of well-being and energy, reduces anxiety and depression, influences mood favourably and contributes to self-esteem and an aura of confidence; improves memory in the elderly especially with constant repetition of the Ayaat (verses) from the Glorious Quran and other Ayaat which exalt His Glory. This constant repetition of the Quranic Ayaat would help to screen the mind from the incoming thoughts.
It has been found by a Harvard University researcher, Dr. Herbert Benson that repetition of a prayer, Ayaat of the Quran or remembrance (Dhikr) of Allah or muscular activity coupled with passive disregard of intensive thoughts causes a "relaxation response" that leads to the lowering of Blood Pressure and decreases in oxygen consumption and a reduction in heart and respiratory rates. All these are combined in the Taraweeh prayer which is an ideal condition for "relaxation response." It combines repeated muscular activity with repetition of Salat, chanting of words of glorification of Allah and of supplications. The Taraweeh prayer puts the mind in a relaxed state.
This calm state of the mind may be partly due to the release of encephalins, beta-endorphins (endogenous morphines) and others into the blood circulation. Endorphins are any one of the neuropeptides composed of many amino acids, elaborated by the pituitary gland and acting on the central and peripheral nervous systems to reduce pain. Endorphins are categorised as alpha-endorphin, beta-endorphin, and gamma-endorphin which produce pharmacologic effects similar to morphine. Beta-endorphin found in the brain and GI(gastro-intestinal) tract is the most potent of the endorphins and is a powerful analgesic(pain killer) in humans and animals. For example during childbirth many women release endorphins reducing a woman's sensation of pain. The release of endorphins is associated with an euphoria. During childbirth, women who give birth with little or no medication sometimes label this euphoria a "birth climax."
Conclusion Islam is the only religion where physical movements of Salat and Taraweeh prayers are combined with spiritual exercise. When Salat and Taraweeh prayers are practised throughout a person's life, recurring every few hours or so, trains a person to undertake the difficult task of meditation during physical manoeuvres of Salat and Taraweeh prayers, so that the Namazi(one who performs the Salat) benefits both from spiritual as well as physical exercise. Salat and Taraweeh prayers are unique in that tension builds up in the muscles during physical manoeuvres on the one hand, while tension is relieved in the mind due to the spiritual ingredient, on the other hand.
The following benefits have been noted among those who perform the Taraweeh prayers: burning off calories and losing weight, maintaining muscle tone and body composition, joint flexibility (stiff joints are often the result of disuse, not arthritis), increasing metabolic rate, improving circulation, improving heart and lung function and aerobic capacity, decreasing heart disease risk profile, increasing your sense of self-control, reducing your level of stress, increasing your ability to concentrate, improving your appearance, reducing depression and resistance to depression, helping you sleep better and suppressing your appetite. Evidence is also accumulating that those who perform regular Salat along with voluntary prayers can conserve and actually retard the loss of bone mass in the elderly, thus staving off the ravages of osteoporosis that afflicts both men and women.
It is also possible to retard the aging process and confer some protection to health in later life. Those who have performed Salat (Fard and Wajib), Sunnah and Nafl and Taraweeh prayers throughout life get protection and a positive effect in terms of health and longevity. They reverse the life-shortening effects of cigarette smoking and excess body weight. Even people with high blood pressure (a primary heart disease risk) reduced their death rate by one-half and their risk of dying from any of the major diseases is reduced.
They also counter genetic tendencies toward an early death. Hence Salat (Fard, Wajib), Sunnah, Nafl and Taraweeh prayers are necessary for Muslims to preserve life and their desirable qualities into old age.