AYURVEDA & The Process of Healthy Digestion
Digestion processes at three Levels.
The first level is in the Gut, where the Digestive fire is. It nourishes and strengthens the Agni present at the next two levels. This Agni is present throughout the food channel (annavaha srotas), and breaks down the ingested food into simpler molecules and renders it liquid.
But this liquid is not subtle enough to be used by the body tissues, so it proceeds to the next level of Agni, the Elemental Fire (or Bhootagni). There are 5 fires, one for each of the five elements. This process renders the liquid form of food to further break up in smaller simpler fractions so that it can be assimilated by the tissue systems.
At the third level, the role of the 7 tissue Fires (Dhatu agni – Dhatu means tissue systems) comes into play. They are present in the respective cells of the tissue systems and absorb these minute particles to nourish the cells.
The Diet as per AYURVEDA has to include Four Types of foods:
a) foods that have to be chewed many times;
b) foods that are softer and require moderate chewing;
c) foods that can be licked;
d) foods that have to be ingested as a drink.
This classification ensures representation of each of the Five Elements in the Diet.
And having foods from each of these categories is essential to nourish the representatives of the five Elements and their respective sense organs.
When we are in a balanced state, our meals should have all the six Tastes as they are directly related to Doshas and influence them. However, when we are in an unbalanced state, then we have to pick and choose the appropriate foods having the required attributes.