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Use The Power of Fiber to Decrease Symptoms from Menopause

by: Dr. Mary Claire Haver
Woman smiling with the sun shining over her shoulder.

Life Changing Tips for Increasing Fiber in Your Diet

It’s easier than you think.

What comes to mind when you think about fiber? If you’re like most people, you probably think about digestive health and having regular bowel movements. It’s true that fiber helps with digestion, but a high-fiber diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight, lowers cholesterol, regulates blood-sugar levels, reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer, and may help fight depression.

Are you getting enough fiber?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends women consume 25 grams of fiber each day. Unfortunately, most women don’t hit that target so here are some ways you can make a change for the better.

Table of Contents

Let’s start with the basics: what is fiber?

Fiber is a plant-based nutrient that our bodies cannot digest. It is naturally found in many fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, grains, and seeds. 

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and slows down carbohydrate digestion, which can make you feel full longer and stabilize blood-sugar levels. Soluble fiber is found in foods like bananas, apples, pears, beans, potatoes, and oats.

Insoluble fiber is also called “roughage.” It retains water and helps to move food through the digestive system which assists with bowel movements. Insoluble fiber is found in foods like berries, nuts, carrots, and whole grains. 

Why is fiber important?

High-fiber diets can: 

  • Regulate bowel movements and help with digestion
  • Assist with weight management
  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Improve heart health
  • Help you live longer 

Bowel Movements and Digestion

Fiber helps relieve constipation by softening stool so that it is easier to pass. Having regular bowel movements can lower the risk of developing hemorrhoids or other gastrointestinal conditions. 

Weight Management

High-fiber foods take longer to digest than low-fiber foods, so you feel full longer. 

Blood-Sugar Levels

Because high-fiber foods digest more slowly, they slow the absorption of sugar in the blood to help maintain healthy blood-sugar levels. 

Heart Health

Fiber can help lower cholesterol which reduces the risk of heart disease. It also can lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation which are important for cardiovascular health. 

Live Longer

The cardiovascular and digestive benefits associated with a high-fiber diet can help you live a longer life by reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. 

Fiber may lower the incidence of depression in pre- and perimenopausal women.

A recent study published in Menopause, The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, found that increasing fiber intake is correlated with lower rates of depression as women approach menopause. Fiber supports gut microbiota which strengthen brain health and may help protect against depression symptoms. 

Researchers found that pre- and perimenopausal women who consume 21 grams of fiber daily were 41 percent less likely to experience depression. 

4 Tips for Increasing Fiber Intake

  1.     Start slowly. Gradually increase the amount of fiber each day. Adding too much fiber too quickly can cause bloating and cramping.
  2.     Drink plenty of water. Fiber needs water to do its job, so be sure to drink at least 64 ounces each day.
  3.     Choose more whole grains, fruits, and raw vegetables. Many anti-inflammatory foods are great sources of fiber.
  4.     Consider a fiber supplement. If you need help reaching the recommended 25 grams of fiber each day, a fiber supplement can bridge the gap. Fiber GDX is made from high-quality ingredients and provides more than 25 percent of your daily fiber needs. 

Get Your Daily 25

Here are some high-fiber options that can quickly add up to 25 grams:

Track Your Fiber Intake

If you want a simple way to track your fiber intake, consider using the Cronometer app (my favorite). Once you enroll, if you haven’t already, head to the Settings section > Targets > Nutrient Targets > Carbohydrates and Fiber is the 2nd option down. Switch to Custom and enter 25.0 as your Daily Target. When you go back to your Diary and swipe the options at the top – you will be able to watch your Fiber intake as the day goes by. Try it for a week; what do you have to lose! 

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Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Increased Fiber Associated With Less Depression in Premenopausal Women (

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This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.

Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency room immediately.

The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other institution with which the authors are affiliated.

While the information on the site was prepared to provide accurate information regarding topics related to general and specific health issues, the information contained in the site is made available with the express understanding that neither Dr. Mary Claire Haver,, nor the other experts on the site, nor the site itself, nor members of the Site are dispensing medical advice and do not intend any of this information to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.


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