Author: Faheema Mahomed Ali
Date: 14 July 2022
The growing concern over the increase in chronic diseases affecting young and old, has led to a greater awareness of eating healthier food world-wide. Research has shown that the type and quality of food we eat has an immense effect on our overall health. This has subsequently led to a greater appreciation for halaal food, especially by Non-Muslims. As Muslims, it is our religious duty to eat halaal and tayyib (pure) food, but how many of us understand the hidden health benefits of following this manner of eating? Halaal food has become increasingly popular in the Western world today, resulting in not only non-Muslims knowing what halaal food is, but also many non-Muslims preferring halaal food over non- Halaal food.
What makes halaal food healthier to consume?
The term “halaal” is no longer merely seen as a religious duty Muslims have to fulfil and is fast becoming synonymous with safe food production and high quality standard of food. Due to the rigorous hygiene standards enforced by halaal certification bodies, halaal food has been found to have a lower risk of food pathogen contamination, and therefore, very low incidences of food poisoning and other food-borne diseases.
The Quraan and Sunnah not only stipulate what food is not allowed, but also the appropriate ways of production. Let’s consider the halaal method of slaughtering as an example. The guidelines of upbringing, preparing and slaughtering the animals for consumption is one of the most ethical methods employed by the food industry today. Islam considers animal welfare as an important factor in food production. The animal must be well-fed, healthy and disease-free before being slaughtered. Not only is this of benefit to the animals but also us as consumers. Studies have also shown that if animals experience high levels of stress and anxiety before being slaughtered, excessive levels of the stress hormone cortisol is released by the adrenal glands. Furthermore, it has been found that high levels of cortisol increase the acidity of the meat. The high acidity present, not only results in meat that is not tender but also when consumed may have detrimental effects on our bodies. It is well known that an increase in acidity has been linked to various chronic diseases.
Another critical aspect of the halaal method of slaughtering is the complete drainage of blood after the animal has been slaughtered. Blood is often the ideal medium for microorganisms to grow, and therefore the complete drainage of blood results in a low likelihood of microbial growth and spoilage of food. Remarkably, because care is taken for the animal to be in as much of a relaxed state as possible, this stimulates the parasympathetic system conserving the body’s natural state and ensuring ideal blood flow. This results in both safer, disease-free, more tender and better quality meat.
It is these scientific and research-based health benefits of halaal meat that has contributed to the increasing popularity of halaal food. There is a growing trend of people of various religious faiths preferring halaal certified meat and food products. Today the consumption of halaal food transcends many ethnical and religious backgrounds and is fast becoming known as a major contributor to the healthy, wholesome lifestyle.