Roughage pertains to the dietary fiber, which is a portion in a food that is of plant origin and that is indigestible to certain animals, including humans. There are animals, though, such as ruminants, that can digest them. In this case, roughage also pertains to the hay or any coarse feed that is part of the ruminant diet.
More information here. Anderson JW, Baird P, Davis RH Jr, et al. 2009, ‘Health benefits of dietary fiber’, Nutrition Reviews, vol. 67, no.4, pp.188-205. More information here.
Even though fiber passes through our bodies without being digested, it provides many health benefits, particularly for the heart. Fiber-rich diets may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 30%.
Fiber gets an awful lot of attention-and when you examine the facts, it’s clear to see why it’s a healthy diet essential. An indigestible substance found in all plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains, fiber (or roughage) can be thought of as your body’s broom. It sweeps through your intestines to pick up unhealthy bacteria and excess waste, keeping your digestive system running smoothly in the process. Fibers are primarily non-digestible carbohydrates. Fibers are components of plant foods, fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, lentils, nuts, and seeds – any food that is classified as a plant.
The benefits of fiber
a non-cellulose polysaccharide fraction that is readily hydrolyzed with acid. Pectin is comprised of chains of galactouronic acid, galactans, and arabinans.
Most high-fiber foods tend to be low in calories, sugar, and fat, so they are generally healthy. When eating high-fiber foods one may feel fuller and thereby less inclined to overeat.
It is estimated that dietary factors (including energy, fan and fiber) contribute to 35% of all cancers. Fiber, of all of these dietary factors, is more closely related to overall cancer death then any other individual factor (Anderson and Akanji, 1993). In the Netherlands cancer deaths were three folds higher in individuals with low fiber diets compared to individuals with high fiber diets (Kromhout et al., 1989). Related are studies that correlate the higher cancer rates with the development of countries. Diets in “western” countries contain more processed foods and overall less fiber then diets of countries studied, such as Nigeria and Uganda (Spiller and McPherson, 1980).
Soluble fiber in cereals, oatmeal, beans and other foods has been found to lower blood cholesterol. Insoluble fiber in cauliflower, cabbage and other vegetables and fruits helps move foods through the stomach and intestine, thereby decreasing the risk of cancers of the colon and rectum. Beans are a naturally high-fiber food and should be a staple in your diet. Legumes are a source of soluble fiber, or fiber that dissolves in water. Soluble fiber has been associated with significant decreases in unhealthy cholesterol and is good for protecting your heart health.
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Continual themes in all the animals are the trade-off of digestion time versus consumption quantity. Fermentation and batch reactors slow up the system, and the animal, therefore, cannot take in additional food in the meantime. Yet, if the system is continually flushed and food quickly moves through, less absorption is taking place. The animal has, therefore, to find a medium that is suitable to its diet, defining its strategy. Experiments done with humans usually test specific types of fiber to examine their digestibility.