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Ayurveda explains the digestive strength of a body in the form of Agni, a Sanskrit term for digestive fire. All the factors, such as the enzymes and the acids that break down food, are collectively known as Agni. Just as wind, light (or heat), and water control the nature, similarly our body is governed by Tridosha (or three doshas) - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Let’s follow the journey of food in our digestive system.
The first pit stop for the food is in your mouth, where it is tasted with the tongue and chewed with the teeth. The salivary glands in the mouth moisten the food and help it break down. These actions are controlled and enabled by the Prana Vata.
The well-chewed and moist food slides down the oesophagus and enters the stomach. In the stomach, the food is kneaded into a dough-like consistency by Kledaka Kapha. And finally, the doughed food is exposed to Jatharagni - the digestive fire. The Jatharagni heats the food with the help of the Pachaka Pitta in order to drain out the nutrition juices called Ahara Rasa. Pitta plays a vital role in the process.
Pachaka Pitta is responsible for the heat, energy, and gastric activities in the stomach. Food spends most of its time in the stomach and where all the conversion takes place. Nutrients are extracted from the food in the stomach and liver. The stomach is also where ojas - the essence of immunity, vitality, and virility - is built.
Finally, when all the nutrients are retained, Ahara Rasa is carried to the tissues, or dhatus, by the Samana Vata. The components of the food that has no nutritional value are called mala, or the waste materials, which is transported to the colon and rectum, to be eliminated from the body.
And thus ends the journey of your food, but as you can see, the entire process is extremely intricate and upon in hinges your body’s health and wellness. It’s no wonder that Ayurveda places so much importance on the food we eat and advises us to eat fresh, natural, and wholesome food. After all, if man is what he eats, our forefathers wanted us to be the very best version of ourselves.
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