What Is Roughage, and Why Is It Important to Eat It

What Is Roughage?

Roughage is defined as any substance or mixture which contains less than the minimum amount of ingredients required to produce a finished product. Rationing foods that contain too much or too little of certain nutrients may cause health problems. For instance, some fruits are high in vitamin C but low in potassium. If you eat them all the time, they could lead to diarrhea and other stomach issues. On the other hand, if you only eat one type of fruit, it would not provide enough potassium.

The same principle applies to grains and legumes. Some cereals have a higher protein content than others. Those with more protein will give your body more energy and help build stronger bones.

However, those with lower levels of protein may cause digestive problems such as gas and bloating due to increased stool volume.

Another example is salt. Salt is used in many processed foods because it helps keep foods from spoiling quickly. However, excessive consumption of sodium can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.

A diet rich in vegetables and fruits with low amounts of salt will prevent these negative effects.

A third example of roughage is alcohol (ethanol). Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, spirits and liquor contain small quantities of ethanol that gives them their alcoholic properties. The type and amount of ethanol in these drinks can range from less than one percent up to 50 percent.

When people consume alcoholic beverages, their judgement and responses to sights and sounds are dulled to a degree depending on the amount of alcohol they have consumed. While small amounts of alcohol may make people feel more relaxed, moderate alcohol consumption (if enjoyed responsibly) is not necessarily a bad thing. However, excessive drinking can lead to serious health problems and should be avoided.

The last example of roughage is gluten. Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat and similar grains such as barley, rye, and oats. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape.

It also gives the final product a chewy texture.

Gluten is found in most breads, pastas, tortillas, and baked goods such as cakes and pizza. Certain people may be allergic or sensitive to it. In this case, they must completely avoid foods that contain gluten.

What Are the Benefits of Roughage?

There are many benefits to eating certain types of roughage. For instance, it can prevent or reduce digestive problems such as bloating and diarrhea. The key is to balance your diet with enough roughage to keep your stool at a normal consistency.

Roughage is also great for keeping your digestive system running at an optimal level. It absorbs water as it passes through your body, which keeps waste from getting hard and dry. This helps prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.

Roughage can also help you lose or maintain a healthy weight. It takes more time for your body to break down and digest fiber, keeping you fuller longer. It can also reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering your cholesterol levels.

How Much Roughage Should I Be Eating?

How much roughage should you be eating?

This will depend on your gender, age, and level of physical activity. The average intake is five to ten servings of grains per day and two to four servings of vegetables.

However, this is just a guideline. If you are under the age of 19, pregnant or nursing, a teenager, or an athlete, your roughage needs may be slightly higher.

The amount of roughage you need will also depend on your taste preferences. If you like vegetables, you may eat more than someone who does not. There is no need to count every last gram or calorie.

Instead, try to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods.

What Foods Contain Roughage?

Any food that comes from a plant or contains a plant has some roughage in it. This includes fresh, dried, or canned fruits and vegetables. Dried beans, peas, lentils, and even mashed beans all have some fiber in them. Dairy products such as milk and cheese contain some fiber, but they also contain calcium, which can interfere with the absorption of minerals.

Grains can be refined or unrefined. Refined grains have had most of the fiber removed during processing. These include white bread, pasta, and breakfast cereals.

Unrefined grains still contain some fiber. These include whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal.

Whole fruits and vegetables contain the most roughage. These include leafy greens such as spinach, romaine lettuce, and kale. Make sure to eat the skin of a fruit such as an apple or a banana since this is where most of the fiber is found.

Tips for Adding More Fiber to Your Diet

You can make your diet healthier by adding more fiber to it. Start by adding more whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa to your meals. You can also try eating more oatmeal for breakfast.

Add some berries to sweeten it. If you don’t like oatmeal or cereal, you can always try eating a vegetable such as squash or potatoes.

Snack on some raw vegetables and hummus or peanut butter. You can even buy some ready-to-eat frozen or canned vegetables if you don’t want to prepare anything.

You can also try eating more fruit. This is easy to do if you always keep some on hand. If fresh fruit is too expensive or hard to find in your area, you can always buy frozen or canned.

You may even want to buy dried fruit such as raisins if you find them on sale. Raisins are very cheap and filling. They also have many health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease.

You can also drink fruit juice, but limit this to 4 ounces per day. Juice has a lot of sugar, but it also has fiber in it. You should be fine if you don’t have more than 16 ounces of juice a day.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and a great time to get your daily fiber intake. All types of breakfast cereals have some amount of fiber in them. Bran is an especially rich source of fiber.

Try some of the newer brands of bran cereals that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. They taste just as good and have much less impact on your blood sugar. Add some sliced bananas, applesauce, or even a sliced orange on top of your cereal for some extra fiber and taste.

Where to Buy Roughage?

You can buy most kinds of roughage at the grocery store. Look in the produce section for fruits, vegetables, and even potatoes. The bulk section of your grocery store sells beans, peas, and other pulses. You can also buy them canned if you don’t want to take the time to cook them from scratch. Some stores also sell fresh bran and wheat bran at a reasonable price.

The dairy case sells skim and low-fat milk. You can also buy low-fat (1%) or fat-free yogurt. If you buy fruit juice, look for one that has no sugar or sugars that don’t impact your blood sugar.

Look for the words “no sugar” or “unsweetened” on the label. Some juices also have bran in them.

You can also buy some roughage from the pharmacy or grocery store in a can. Canned green beans, peas, and sliced beets are all healthy and affordable. Canned fruit, such as pears, also counts as a serving of roughage.

Tips to Improve Digestion

You can make your body more prone to absorbing the nutrients in the food you eat by taking some steps. First of all, make sure to chew your food thoroughly. The more you chew it, the more surface area there is for digestive enzymes to work on.

Secondly, drink a large glass of water with a squeeze of lemon or a spoonful of acv fifteen minutes before a meal. This will help fill your stomach and keep you from eating too much.

Finally, try eating your food off of a smaller plate. It will make the portions appear larger to you and help you from over-eating.

Tips to Improve Regularity

If you have regular diarrhea or loose stools, try changing what you eat. After eating foods high in sugar for a week, the friendly bacteria in your digestive tract that produce the lactase enzyme die off. This is what allows you to digest lactose in dairy products.

Without it, you can’t digest dairy and it comes right through you. Avoiding dairy and eating more complex carbohydrates will help this problem. Complex carbohydrates are hard for your body to break down, so they pass through your system whole.

If you have the opposite problem, constipation, drink a glass of milk before going to bed. The calcium and other nutrients will help your body move things along. Also, make sure to get plenty of fiber in your diet.

Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables all contain fiber. You can also try some over-the-counter fiber supplements to help things along.

What Should I Eat?

First and foremost, you should create a meal plan. You can design one that meets your personal needs and wants. After a week of tracking what you eat, look it over.

Are you getting everything you need?

If not, see the suggestions above on where and how to buy what you’re missing.

Now, let’s get to the fun part–the pictures! We’ll start with breakfast:


If you’re in a hurry, you can’t beat eggs. Cook them however you like, but try to refrain from frying them in butter. You can add chopped up veggies to the pan and throw an egg or two into the mix.

This is a great way to start the day, especially if you follow it up with some whole wheat toast spread with natural peanut butter.

If you need something quicker, smoothies and shakes are very nutritious and easy to take on the go. Throw a banana, some frozen berries, and some milk in the blender and enjoy a nutritious breakfast that will hold you over until lunchtime.

Now let’s move on to lunch:


Leftovers! Sandwiches-You can never go wrong with a good sandwich. Trim the fat off of a roasted chicken or deli meat and toss some veggies between two slices of whole wheat.

Add a bit of mustard or mayo, if you like, and enjoy.

Soup-Homemade soup is always a good choice. Stock-based is always better than cream based. Throw in some chopped up veggies and herbs for taste.

Salad-Salads are easy to make and take with you. Always bring the dressing on the side to prevent the greens from getting soggy.


Try sticking with meat and potatoes for dinner. Fish and rice or chicken roasted with potatoes and veggies will give you the energy you need to get through the day. If you have meat left over, chop it up and add it to a wholesome soup or stew to stretch your food budget even further.


Keep some nuts around for snacking. They’re nutritious and filling. An apple or banana is also a good way to satisfy a sweet tooth.


Dark chocolate is a super-food. It’s packed with antioxidants, so if you feel like having a square or two after dinner, don’t feel too bad about it. Just make sure the chocolate you’re buying is at least 70% cocoa.

Sources & references used in this article:

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The relationship between rumination and the amount of roughage eaten by sheep by JG Gordon – The Journal of Agricultural Science, 1965 – cambridge.org

Proposal to use time spent chewing as an index of the extent to which diets for ruminants possess the physical property of fibrousness characteristic of roughages by CC Balch – British Journal of Nutrition, 1971 – cambridge.org

Dietary fibre: a roughage guide by SL James, JG Muir, SL Curtis… – Internal medicine …, 2003 – Wiley Online Library

Heat production, eating behavior and milk yield of lactating cows fed two rations differing in roughage content and digestibility under heat load conditions by G Adin, R Solomon, E Shoshani, I Flamenbaum… – Livestock Science, 2008 – Elsevier

Effects of roughage source and level on intake by feedlot cattle by ML Galyean, PJ Defoor – Journal of Animal Science, 2003 – academic.oup.com

Factors affecting the voluntary intake of food by cows: 2.* The relationship between the voluntary intake of roughages, the amount of digesta in the reticulo-rumen and … by RC Campling, M Freer, CC Balch – British Journal of Nutrition, 1961 – cambridge.org

Different roughages to organic growing/finishing pigs—Influence on activity behaviour and social interactions by MH Presto, B Algers, E Persson, HK Andersson – Livestock Science, 2009 – Elsevier