Roughage or fiber is among the nutrients which most of us know is very vital but that still remains a bit of a mystery to us. We need to know exactly the meaning of roughage or fiber and its major sources and the health benefits attached to it. Here are some of the explanations for the above-mentioned queries regarding roughage or fiber. Roughage or fiber denotes carbohydrates that can not be digested. It is mainly present in all types of plants that we eat including fruits, grains, vegetables, and legumes. All fibers are not the same and there are various ways to differentiate them.
Importance of Roughage or fiber
It can be categorized by its origin; fiber from grains is called cereal fiber. Another way to differentiate roughage or fiber is its dissolving capacity in water. Soluble fiber dissolves partially in water whereas insoluble fiber seldom dissolves in water. The differences are considered mostly in the case of the effect of fiber on the development of some diseases. Presently, it is recommended to consume 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber per day for adults and children above 2 years are advised to consume an amount that should be equal to their total age plus 5 grams of roughage or fiber per day. Average Americans eat about 14 to 15 grams of dietary fiber per day. Dietary fibers are among the indigestible part of plant foods that help in absorbing water, moving food through the digestive system and making defecation easier. Roughage or fiber in diet is made up of non-starch polysaccharides like cellulose and various other plant components such as dextrins, lignin, pectins, insulin, waxes, oligosaccharides, chitins and beta-glucans.
Types of Roughage or fiber
Roughage or fiber is of two types, soluble and insoluble fibers. Actually, dietary fiber is divided according to its tendency of being soluble or insoluble in water. Both types of fibers are present in almost all plant foods, with certain variations depending upon the characteristic of the plant. Insoluble fiber contains passive water-attracting qualities which help to soften stool, increase the bulk, and shorten pass over time through the intestine. Soluble fiber experiences metabolic processing through fermentation, resulting in significant health effects. For instance, plums (or prunes) come with thick skin covering a juicy pulp. The skin of the plum is an example of an insoluble fiber source and the soluble fiber sources are present inside the pulp. Some of the other sources of insoluble fiber include wheat and corn bran, flax seed lignans, whole wheat and vegetables like celery, potato skins, and green beans.
The American Association of Cereal Chemists outlined soluble fiber in a different way. According to them roughage or fiber is an edible part of a plant or some of the alike carbohydrates which are resistive to some extent in the digestion and absorption process in the small intestine with partial or complete fermentation in the large intestine. There are various words in the statement which invite comment and analysis in order to consider fermentable fiber. Thus, soluble as well as insoluble parts of roughage or fiber are vital for the functioning of our body to some extent.
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