A halal diet can be beneficial by helping to reduce a person's cholesterol, saturated fat, and alcohol intake. Halal, meaning condoned or allowed in Arabic, is the diet and lifestyle of the followers of Islam. It involves the restriction of a range of foods, including pork, from one's diet as well abstinence from alcohol. When a person follows this diet in addition to eating other healthy foods, he may have less risk of certain health problems.
This diet is particularly beneficial when a dieter focuses on eating healthily overall in addition to the restrictions the eating plan dictates. The halal diet typically excludes a range of foods, including pork or pig byproducts, foods that still contain animal blood, predatory birds, and animals that died for any reason other than being slaughtered for food. Land animals that do not have visible ears are prohibited as well. Additionally, people who follow this diet avoid meats that were not slaughtered according to the methods dictated by Muslim law.
The requirement to avoid pork and pork byproducts can be beneficial because many pig products contain significant amounts of cholesterol, which can contribute to heart disease. Likewise, some people, especially those who follow Islam, believe the pig is a filthy animal and toxic to the body. Even those who do not believe this, however, may decide to avoid it based on the cholesterol content alone.
The level of saturated fat found in some pig by-products is another reason they are restricted on a halal diet. For example, a type of pork by-product called lard contains large amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol. High amounts of saturated fat raise one’s cholesterol levels and can contribute to the development of health problems, including heart disease. Many experts suggest that a person substitute lard with plant-based fats, such as olive or canola oils, regardless of whether he or she follows a halal diet.
Another potential benefit of this type of eating plan is the prohibition of alcohol. When alcohol is consumed in excess, it can be very dangerous to the organs, including the liver, pancreas, and brain. Over-consumption of alcohol may also cause stroke and cirrhosis of the liver. Going on a halal diet can ensure that the organs are not negatively affected. Additionally, alcohol adds extra calories to one's diet, which can be a problem for a person interested in losing weight.
Some of the other restrictions on this diet are for religious reasons and do not have proven health benefits. One of these faith-based restrictions is that Islamic people can only eat animals if they have been killed in a particular way. Islamic law says that a Muslim must kill the animal by draining its blood. Before the animal dies, the Muslim butcher must also say the word Allah, which means God.