The great scholar, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee (rahimahullaah), in his book Jaami ul-'Uloom wal-Hikam (an explanation of an-Nawawee's Forty Hadeeth) quotes the following hadeeth:
Miqdaam bin Ma'dee Kariba said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say: "The son of Aadam does not fill a container worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Aadam to take enough morsels of food to keep his back straight (keep him able-bodied). And if it is necessary, then a third for his food, a third for his drink, and a third for his breath".
Then Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee comments:
This hadeeth [constitutes] a comprehensive principle for all of the principles of medicine. And it has been reported that Ibn Abee Maasawaih, the physician, when he read this hadeeth in the book of Abee Khaythamah, he said: "If the people acted upon these words, they would be free of (all) the diseases and ailments and the clinics and pharmacies would be shut down."
And then Ibn Rajab comments upon this statement of Ibn Abee Maasawaih, saying:
Indeed he said this because the origin of all disease is dysbiosis [incomplete or improper digestion of food]... and al-Haarith bin Kaladah, the physician of the Arabs said, "Precaution in the diet is the chief part of [medicinal] treatment and dysbiosis is the chief [cause] of disease" ... and al-Haarith also said, "That which has killed the creation and has caused one-seventh of the creation to perish is consuming food on top of previous food that has not yet been digested."
Then Ibn Rajab brings numerous quotations, amongst them:
From Ibraaheem bin Adham [who said]: "Whoever masters his stomach, masters his religion, and whoever reigns control over his hunger will reign control over the righteous characteristics..."
Although there are abundant papers in this regard we'll just mention a couple for the sake of brevity:
Cunningham-Rundles S. Department of Pediatrics, Cornell University, Weill Medical College, New York, New York, USA. Nutrition and the mucosal immune system. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2001 Mar;17(2):171-176.
Gut-associated lymphoid tissue is the dominant site for the initiation of mucosal immune response. Mucosal immunity depends on regulatory signals; nutritional elements, including fats, amino acids, and micronutrients, are critical cofactors for these signals. Nutrients specifically affect lymphocyte influx and migration, mononuclear cell activation, and the differentiated expression of immune response. The molecular basis of nutrient action has been shown to involve effects on receptor regulation, adhesion molecule expression, and the pattern of cytokine production. The gastrointestinal mucosal immune system is the major site for host interaction with microbes and provides a barrier against systemic access for food antigens and microbes. Nutrient metabolism has unique and direct impact on the host defense system of gut-associated lymphoid tissue and therefore has potential for widely disseminated impact on systemic immune response.
R. Herich and M. Levkut. Lactic acid bacteria, probiotics and immune system. Vet. Med. Czech, 47, 2002 (6): 169-180.
Mucous membranes of the body are in direct contact with the outside environment and they are colonised by a large number of different bacteria... Probiotic micro-organisms including lactic acid bacteria (LAB) positively influence the composition of the gut microflora; they stimulate the production of secretory IgA; they affect the targeted transportation of the luminal antigens to Peyer's patches and they increase the production of IFN-?. LAB stimulate the activity of non-specific and specific immune cells. These properties of the LAB depend on the particular species or strain of bacteria. These singularities are probably determined by differences in the cell wall composition. LAB belong to a group of beneficially acting bacteria and they are able to eliminate damage to the gut microenvironment; they stimulate local and systemic immune responses and they maintain the integrity of the gut wall ... Different mechanisms could influence the composition of the micro-organisms that colonise the digestive tract. The two important are: antagonism among bacteria and local immunity. Disturbances in the ecological balance in the gut lead to the growth of harmful bacteria and to their possible translocation to internal organs, which induces disease. Beneficially acting bacteria positively influence the immune system of the host.
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