We first taste our food, then digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, which maintains lubrication & starts the digestion process. Chewing & saliva break down the food particles in the mouth & Prana Vaya governs the movement of food down the esophagus into the stomach & along with Samana Vaya, initiates churning. Water & Earth elements stretch the stomach giving it a sense of fullness & the absorption of simple sugars occurs.
Hydrochloride acid is secreted into the stomach at this point, which makes the food 'acidic'. The stomach is protected from these secretions by Kledaka Kapha. The Fire element promotes digestive enzymes & the stomach becomes increasingly lighter & the digestion of proteins & fats begins.
The Pyloric valve opens & the food enters the Doudenum, first section of the Small Intestine. The acidic foodstuff mixes with alkaline secretions & bile, yielding salts. The digestion of Carbohydrates, Proteins & fats occur at this stage. All while electrolyte balance is maintained.
Most intestinal enzymes are pungent & this stage of digestion occurring in the Jejunum, second part of the small intestine. The Fire element causes increased heat & circulation, while the Air element results in gases.
Entering the Ileum, or final section of the small intestine. The Air element continues to create peristalsis & there is rapid absorption. The stomach & intestines become light. This stage cools the body & calms Pitta Dosha.
The Ileocecal valve opens, allowing the food into the Cecum, first section of the Large intestine. The remaining minerals & liquids are absorbed & feces are formed by the Earth element. The downward energy of Apana Vayu results in elimination.
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