Roughage is a general term used to identify a carbohydrate contained in many different types of foods. Sometimes referred to simply as dietary fiber, it is understood to be an essential part of any healthy diet plan. Its main function is to add bulk to the diet, which in turn aids in the digestion process and healthy function of the bowel system.
There are many different forms of roughage. Fruits are one common source, with apples, pears, and whole grapes being common examples. Whole grains also contain dietary fiber, and many people eat wheat products like whole grain bread and crackers to add bulk to the diet. Vegetables of just about every description from kale to potatoes also are considered to have bulk.
There are two basic reasons that people should sure that they have enough roughage in their diet. First, many of the foods that contain this bulk can help an individual to feel full more quickly. This can help to minimize the chances of overeating, and help people who are trying to lose weight. Second, because some types of fiber cannot be totally absorbed by the body, the unused portion of the material helps to clean out the digestive tract and bowel. The cleaning action helps to keep these vital areas less susceptible to infection and disease, and aids in overall health.
Roughage comes in two different types, usually referred to as soluble and insoluble fiber. Water soluble fiber includes cellulose and lingnin, while insoluble fiber includes foods such as gum products and pectin. Both types are considered to be essential forms of dietary fiber, working together to help keep the body balanced and healthy. In general, healthcare professionals will encourage patients to include at least come fiber in one to two meals per day, often favoring fresh foods over packaged ones.