Roughage, or fibre, is the substance that helps our bowels function optimally by contributing to regular evacuation. According to Brown.edu, when you lack roughage in your diet you may suffer from constipation, diverticulitis and haemorrhoids. Diverticulitis causes inflammation in the colon and is exacerbated by a lack of fibrous foods that aid elimination. Haemorrhoids are internal or external swollen, inflamed veins caused by excessive straining during bowel moments. They may be related to a lack of fibre rich foods. Adding roughage to your diet will help you maintain a healthier bowel and increased overall health.
Roughage is a term that is used to describe fibre, the essential dietary ingredient for bowel and digestive health. It is made up of foods that are plant-based and acts as a bulking agent to help keep stools regular and decrease constipation. According to the Mayo Clinic, fibre passes through the stomach, small intestines and colon relatively undigested. The two types of roughage necessary for digestive health are soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibre dissolves in water and can be found in many fruits, grains, berries and beans. According to Medline Plus, a publication from The National Library of Medicine, soluble fibre can help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol. Correspondingly, based on findings by the Food and Drug Administration, populations that are low in fat and high in fibre and plant food intake tend to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, oats are higher in soluble fibre than other grains. The association recommends eating apple pulp, peas, citrus, beans, strawberries, oatmeal, psyllium and rice to increase your soluble roughage intake.
Roughage in the form of insoluble fibre can make you feel fuller more quickly, so you are less likely to overeat. This can lead to a decrease in risk of obesity and contribute to optimal cardiovascular health. Because insoluble fibre increases stool bulk, it can relieve constipation by helping move foods more easily through the bowel. Foods such as wheat bran, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, nuts and most grains and whole wheat breads contain high levels of insoluble fibre.
Dietary guidelines from Colorado State University as of 2010 recommended eating 14g of fibre for every 1,000 calories consumed. Try adding nuts to a salad or eating raw vegetables throughout the day to increase your fibre intake. Vegetable and fruit juices contain some fibre, but watch out for added sugar and sodium added to some of these drinks. The American Heart Association recommends eating six to eight servings of grain and eight to 10 of vegetables and fruits daily for a healthy bowel. Fibre intake should fall in the range of 25 to 35g daily for a healthy diet.
Labelling of foods may be inconsistent with what they actually contain, so you may not be getting as much fibre as you think you are. To honestly claim that they lower cholesterol, foods must contain at least 0.6g of soluble fibre according to Colorado State University. Look for food products that contain more than 5g per serving for a good high-fibre content. Anywhere from 2.5 to 4.9g per serving is a good source of fibre and at least 2.5g is a moderate amount. Eating raw fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods will help ensure you get recommended roughage amounts in your diet.
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