Ayurvedic Perspective on Digestive Process
BY ayurdhara|July 4, 2022
One of Ayurveda’s principles is that we are what we digest rather than what we eat. This pun on the well-known phrase “You are what you eat” is supposed to convey the importance of proper digestion in maintaining good health. But, how much do we really know about the digestive system? Ayurveda gives us a comprehensive perspective that goes beyond what is popularly recognized. The idea that digestion happens in three stages, that it happens on a subtle as well as a gross physical level, and that it takes a full 36 days to complete the digestive process are just a few of the key features of the Ayurvedic approach to digestion. Ayurdhara, the leading ayurvedic center in Dubai, offers expert treatments for gastrointestinal problems
which are the result of indigestion. Here’s a breakdown with even more details.
The Three Stages
The average time for digestion through the GI system is 4–6 hours, depending on the individual’s agni (digestive fire) and temperament. This process is divided into three stages:
The first stage
involves the mouth and upper stomach. This stage lasts approximately 12–2 hours and is linked to the kapha, or Earth and Water components. Saliva interacts with the meal at this point to make it moist, foamy, and oily so that it can be digested properly. Lethargy lasting more than an hour after eating shows that this step of digestion is disrupted and food is sitting too long in this area.
The second stage
involves the lower stomach and small intestine. This stage lasts roughly 2–3 hours and is linked to pitta, or the components of Fire and Water. The food is further broken down by pancreatic secretions at this point. Heartburn and acid reflux are symptoms of this stage’s imbalances.
The third stage
is the large intestine (colon). This stage lasts roughly 12–2 hours and is associated to vata, or the elements of air and space. Bloating and gas are signs that something is wrong with this stage of digestion.
Digestion: Gross vs Subtle
The “gross” digestion process, in which food moves through the GI tract, separating nutrients from trash, is familiar to most individuals. We are often unaware, however, that once this procedure is complete, the body proceeds with the “subtle” digestive process. Subtle digestion is the act of replenishing each of the body’s tissue layers one at a time.
Waste is transported to the GI system for evacuation from the body once food has completed the gross digestive process, and what is left is called ahara rasa, or nourishing fluid. This nutritious fluid is subsequently delivered to each tissue layer, which is nourished in the order listed below.
• Lymph/plasma (rasa)
• Blood (rakta)
• Muscle (mamsa)
• Fat (meda)
• Bone (asthi)
• Bone marrow/nerve tissue (majja)
• Reproductive (shukra/artava)
The analogy of irrigation can be used to depict how delicate digestion nourishes these tissue layers; an irrigation canal full of water nourishes each row of crops, with the nearest area receiving water first and the farthest portion receiving water last. The nourishing fluid is transported in the same way, in the appropriate order, from one tissue to the next.
However, there are situations when a tissue layer is exhausted and requires additional nutrients. The typical process is bypassed in this circumstance, and the tissue layer with the greatest demand is nourished first.
Best Ayurvedic Solution for Gastrointestinal Problems
Ayurdhara is a top ayurvedic clinic in Dubai that offers various specialty treatments with proven expertise. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion/dyspepsia, bloating, and constipation are very common in people nowadays. The changing life style, food habits and fast life are some of the major reasons for the growing gastro problems. Ayurdhara provides specialty treatments for gastrointestinal problems.