When I was younger, we ate oranges whole: we peeled the green back of the orange, and ate everything else apart from the seed.
I enjoyed eating oranges like that. But we started growing and it seemed unconventional to eat oranges like that. Not with juicers everywhere! So gradually, we took the orange juice and threw away the roughages.
What are roughages?
Another word for roughage is Dietary fibre. According to Oxford dictionary, roughages are fibrous indigestible materials in vegetable foodstuffs which aids the passage of food and waste products through the gut.
This simple definition means that this part of plant based food is as important as any other nutrient. It is a pity we neglect it’s importance.
Dietary fibre helps the movement of food from the mouth through the oesophagus to the stomach where it is digested and assimilated. Now imagine your diet is made up of only animal based foods and heavily processed foods such as noodles, you find out that you’ve got yourself a hug problem.
Foods rich in fibre are lower in energy density and most times lower in fat content too but full of juicy micronutrients! The fibre content gives you a feeling of being full (satiety) although it is usually short lived.
Dietary fibre is so important that the benefits can go on and on:
The most common benefit of fibre. Most people only remember to eat foods rich in fibre when they start suffering from constipation. This should not be the case. A person who has a diet rich in fibre will hardly suffer from constipation. This is because he/she will have a healthy bowel movement. Simply put, bowel movement refers to the sensation one feels before passing out faeces.
You might wonder, “what’s the importance of that?” It’s important because without this movement you won’t be able to pass out faeces, and even if you do, you get complications while doing so. Fibre adds to the bulk of stool. That is to say that it helps make the stool firm while absorbing water in the stool. This is so as to prevent water loss while keeping the stool soft and firm. So it becomes easy to pass it out.
These talks about stool is making me want to to throw up!
This is another very important reason why you should incorporate high fibre foods in your diet. Fibre aids digestion. It aids the movement of food from the mouth through the intestinal tract. Foods without fibre can not move well through the tract, which slows digestion. But with a high fibre diet, digestion is made possible and faster.
Fibre, particularly soluble fibre can help to lower low-density lipoprotein, otherwise known as bad cholesterol. Soluble fibres can be found in foods such as beans, oats, flaxseeds and so on. We all know how good this information is to our heart.
High cholesterol levels in the body can lead to high blood pressure, cardiac arrest and even death. Now a high fibre diet can do your heart some good. Or don’t you think?
Blood sugar levels
Soluble fibres help the blood sugar levels by lowering their absorption from the blood stream thereby maintaining blood sugar levels. This is good news for the diebetic patient , particularly for those finding it difficult to retain sugar in the blood stream. Also the chances of you developing type 2 diebetics will be low if you’re on a diet high in insoluble fibre.
Great news for the obese! With a high fibre diet, you can burn that fat faster without so much stress. This is how it works. Fibre foods are low in energy density and in calories but they give a feeling of satiety faster. And they take time to chew as well. So you find out that you end up eating less and feeling full in no time. And because they’re low in fat, you won’t bother about storing up more fat! So do your weight a favour and stick with high fibre diet.
Dietary fiber recommendation
According to WHO standards, the daily fibre intake for men should be at least 30g while for women, 25g.
You can get your fibre, both soluble and insoluble from sources such as vegetables, cereals, legumes, fruits. Most plant foods are also rich in fibre.
Enjoy the rich goodness of nature!