The fact that fish, the health benefits of which have only newly been scientifically registered, is an important nutritional source is revealed in the Qur’an.
Almighty Allah makes the following references to seafood in the Qur’an:
“Anything you catch in the sea is lawful for you, and all food from it, for your enjoyment and that of travelers…” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:96)
“It is He Who made the sea subservient to you so that you can eat fresh flesh from it…”(Qur’an, Surah An-Nahl, 16:14),
Furthermore, particular attention is drawn to fish in Surat al-Kahf, in which it is revealed that the Prophet Musa (as) set out on a long journey with his servant and that they took fish along with them to eat:
“And when Moses said unto his servant: I will not give up until I reach the point where the two rivers meet, though I march on for ages. (60) And when they reached the point where the two met, they forgot their fish, and it took its way into the waters, being free. (61) And when they had gone further, he said unto his servant: Bring us our breakfast. Verily we have found fatigue in this our journey. (62) He said: Didst thou see, when we took refuge on the rock, and I forgot the fish – and none but Satan caused me to forget to mention it – it took its way into the waters by a marvel. (63)” (Quran, Surah Al-Kahf, 18:60-63)
It is noteworthy that in Surat al-Kahf fish should be specially chosen as a foodstuff after a long, tiring journey. Therefore, one of the pieces of wisdom in this tale may well be an indication of the nutritional benefits of fish. (Allah knows best.)
Fish Is A Valuable Source Of Nutrition
Fish is one of the important foodstuffs for the healthy functioning of the heart and the prevention of disease. It provides substances necessary for the human body and also reduces the risk of various diseases.
For example, it has been revealed that when fish-which acts as a shield in terms of health with the omega-3 acid (A polyunsaturated fatty acid whose carbon chain has its first double valence bond three carbons from the beginning).
It contains-is consumed on a regular basis, it reduces the risk of heart disease and strengthens the immune system.
There are two kinds of unsaturated fatty acid in fish oil which are particularly important for our health: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are known as polyunsaturated fats and contain the important omega-3 fatty acids. Since the fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 are not manufactured in the human body, they need to be taken in from the outside.
Fish for a Healthy Heart and Arteries
The omega-3 fatty acid in fish is acknowledged to protect against cardiovascular disease by reducing blood pressure and the cholesterol and triglyceride in the blood.
Omega-3 fatty acids also play an important role in the production of the molecule hemoglobin, that carries oxygen in the red blood cells, and in controlling the nutrients passing through the cell membrane. They also prevent the damaging effects of fats harmful to the body.
In fact, Fish is a perfect food, particularly in terms of protein, vitamin D and trace elements (certain elements found in minimal quantities in the body but which are still of great importance to it). Due to the minerals they contain-such as phosphorus, sulphur and vanadium-fish encourages growth and enables tissues to recover.
Fish meat also assists in the formation of healthy teeth and gums, benefits the complexion, makes the hair healthier and contributes to the fight against bacterial infection. It also plays an important role in the prevention of heart attacks as it beautifully regulates the level of cholesterol in the blood. It helps the body to break down and use starch and fats, making it stronger and more energetic. On the other hand, it also influences the functioning of mental activities. In the event that the vitamin D and other minerals contained in fish are not consumed in sufficient quantities, disorders such as rickets (bone weakness), gum disease, goitre and hyperthyroid may all arise.
Development of New Born Babies
There is a considerable body of evidence relating to the importance of omega-3 to the development of the fetus in the mother’s womb and of the new-born baby. Omega-3 is of the greatest importance for the proper development of the brain and nerves throughout pregnancy and in early babyhood. Scientists emphasize the importance of mother’s milk since it is a natural and perfect store of omega-3.
The major risk in rheumatoid arthritis (a painful joint condition linked to rheumatism) is that of wearing of the joints, leading to irreparable damage. It has been proven that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids prevents arthritis and reduces discomfort in swollen and sensitive joints.
Healthy Functioning of the Brain and Nervous System
Omega-3 fatty acids help the healthy functioning of the brain and nerves. Fish oil reinforcement can reduce symptoms of depression and schizophrenia and prevent Alzheimer’s disease (a brain disease which causes loss of memory and hinders day-to-day activities). For example, reductions in such problems as anxiety, stress and sleeping difficulties have been observed in individuals suffering from depression who took 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acid over a period of 12 weeks.
At the same time, omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory (infection preventing) function.
Omega-3 can therefore be employed in the following diseases:
Rheumatoid arthritis (joint infection linked to rheumatism), Osteoarthritis (a form of arthritis gradually degenerating the functions of joints).
Ulcerative colitis (ulcers linked to the inflammation of the colon), and
Lupus (a disease which causes patches on the skin).
It also protects myelin (the material surrounding nerve cells). It is therefore used in the treatment of:
Glaucoma (an eye disorder marked by abnormally high pressure within the eyeball that may even lead to blindness).
Multiple sclerosis (a serious progressive disease resulting from tissue hardening in the brain and spinal cord),
Osteoporosis (a disease leading to structural weakening in the bone structure) Diabetes patients.
In addition, it is also reported to be useful in the treatment of:
Anorexia (a possibly fatal eating disorder)
Problems concerning skin health.
Additional benefits to those outlined above are emerging every day. Moreover, it has only been possible to reveal the health benefits of fish by a great many scientists working in well-equipped research laboratories.
The fact that such a valuable source of nutrition is indicated in the Qur’an, and especially that it is described as a fatigue eliminator, is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
There is a narration of Prophet Jonah (Younas) and fish reveled by Qur’an (Surah As-Saffat, 37:142-144)
“And the fish swallowed him while he was blameworthy; (142) And had he not been one of those who glorify (Allah) (143) He would have tarried in its belly till the day when they are raised; (144)”
This verse clearly tells us about the fish having very long lifespan, which indicates us its usefulness as a food for our health and lifespan too.