The part of food left in the digestive system after absorption of water is known as roughage or fiber.
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This is basically the cellulose which is a carbohydrate used by plants to build their cell walls. Our diet should contain a necessary amount of fiber content as it is necessary for easy bowel movement. During the digestion process food is mixed with digestive liquid and pushed through the intestinal path.
To facilitate this movement roughage is essential in the food content.
Roughage falls into two categories: soluble roughage and insoluble roughage. Soluble fiber is found in guar, oats, barley, pectin marine vegetables. It usually gets enmeshed with water and forms a gel like substance. It helps in modulating the levels of glucose by slowing down its assimilation in the bloodstream. Insoluble fiber is the fiber which does not get absorbed in the water. It is abundantly found in whole grains, fruits eaten without peeling, nuts and wheat bran. Absorption of these fibers requires a large amount of water. They are important as they stimulate the intestinal tract and also have a beneficial effect on the gastro-intestinal system.
One should eat food with a high fiber content, such as whole-grams or whole-wheat flour, fruits and green leafy vegetables, cereals etc. In case one has constipation or other bowel problems, one should increase the intake of fiber in his diet. This can be done by taking external fiber supplements which are medically prepared formulas to ensure a healthy bowel movement. These are also known as bulk-forming laxatives.
There are two types of fiber supplement available in the market. These are processed fiber supplements and unprocessed fiber supplements. Unprocessed fiber supplements include untreated bran which is cheaper than the processed supplements available in the market. Bran is easy to take as they can be sprinkled on the boiled cereals or can be mixed with juice as well as milk. They can be taken depending on the severity of the problem. Sterculia, Ispaghula husk and methylcellulose are the other alternatives available for people who find bran unpleasant to eat.