Elevate Christian Network :: Health and Wellness
Roughage is the portion of plant foods, such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, that your body can’t digest. However, it’s an important food source for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. It may also aid weight management and decrease certain risk factors for heart disease.
Health experts have long recommended eating roughage-rich foods to improve digestive health. Roughage, or fiber, refers to the carbs in plants that your body cannot digest. This article uses the terms roughage and fiber interchangeably.
Once roughage reaches your large intestine, it’s either broken down by your gut bacteria or exits your body in your stools.
Main Types of Fiber
There are two main types of fiber — soluble and insoluble. Most foods high in roughage contain a combination of these but are usually richer in one type.
In the gut, soluble fiber absorbs water to become gel-like. This allows your gut bacteria to break it down easily. Chia seeds and oats are both high in soluble fiber.
In contrast, insoluble fiber has a more rigid microscopic structure and does not absorb water. Instead, it adds bulk to stools. Fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of insoluble fiber.
Improves digestion and gut health
Insoluble fiber helps alleviate constipation by adding bulk to stools, while the gel-like consistency of soluble fiber helps move stools more easily through your digestive tract.
Dietary fiber also act as a prebiotic, which feeds the beneficial probiotic bacteria in your gut, enabling them to thrive and limit the growth of harmful bacteria.
The prebiotics in fiber may also reduce your risk of colon cancer by promoting healthy bowel movements and strengthening the layer of tissue lining your intestines.
Helps you manage your weight
Consuming fiber may also help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Eating more fiber may also increase your resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is the number of calories you burn at rest.
A 6-week study in 81 adults found that those who ate a diet containing about 40 grams of fiber daily had a higher RMR and burned 92 more calories per day, compared to those who ate a diet with only about 21 grams of fiber per day […]
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