Roughage, also known as fiber or bulk, is an indigestible compound that your body can't absorb. It is found in many fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. A high-fiber diet has many advantages, including bowel regularity and decreased risk of developing diverticulitis, high blood pressure and diabetes. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends consuming at least 20 grams of fiber each day from dietary sources, not supplements.
The fiber found in whole grains is generally insoluble, or does not dissolve in water, and adds water and bulk to stools. Consequently eating whole grains is an excellent way to treat chronic constipation and alleviate the discomfort of diverticulitis. Finding whole grains isn't difficult; just read the nutrition facts on the back of cereals, breads and pasta at the grocery store. For instance, whole-wheat pasta contains about 6 grams of dietary fiber, more than a fourth of your daily minimum requirement. Whole-wheat bread should contain 2 grams or more of fiber.
Beans are a naturally high-fiber food and should become a staple of 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. Add beans to soups, casseroles and salads for easy added fiber. For the optimum health benefit, replace red meat with legumes.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are not only high in fiber but also contain natural vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Raw fruits and vegetables are the best source of fiber, so try to make salads part of your everyday diet. Variety is key. Make your salad as colorful as possible for the optimum health benefit. Avoid canned fruits and vegetables, which are high in sugar and have had many nutrients stripped away in the canning process.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a quick snack and a wonderful source of fiber. One serving or 1 oz. of almonds contains 3.5 grams of fiber. One serving or 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds contains 3.9 grams of fiber. Try adding a handful of nuts or seeds to oatmeal, cereal, baked goods or salads. Slather a piece of whole-grain bread with nut butter, or replace some regular flour with flaxseed flour in baked goods.