Chances are you’ve heard fiber is an important part of a diet. Oftentimes, the fiber that’s recommended by the mainstream include things like green leafy veggies, starchy grains, cruciferous vegetables, and some fermented foods. While these items do have benefits, it’s worth mentioning that this fiber may not go down so easily.
If your digestion is slow or compromised (a reality for many), you run the risk of a lot of these foods sitting in the gut and putrefying. This has the potential to lead to issues like bacterial overgrowth and leaky gut.
Enter the start of this post- the carrot. If you haven’t heard, carrots are pretty awesome. I started really appreciating carrots when I learned about their benefits (and it’s not about vitamin A). For detailed information, check out the work of Ph.D. endocrinologist Ray Peat. He talks about how the fiber found in carrots aid in the excretion of harmful bacteria in the gut.
Struggling with hormone imbalance (like estrogen dominance)? Digestive issues? This raw carrot salad may be a great option to try out!
A SIMPLE DETOX
“Detox” is a buzzword. Detoxes and intense cleanses are all the rage in parts of the wellness community. FYI- your body detoxes every day (or should be detoxing every day). You don’t need an intense detox program to support your body’s natural detoxification process. In certain cases, yes, more targeted detoxes can be beneficial, but there are things you can do to support your body in the process more gently.
Enter the raw carrot salad.
Raw carrots contain an indigestible fiber that helps the body naturally detoxify more efficiently. Carrot fiber contains antifungal and antimicrobial properties that serve as a natural detoxifier, binding to toxins (endotoxins- AKA “bad” bacteria) in the intestines. You brush your teeth every day, right? (You should!). Well, think of carrots like a daily internal toothbrush. That fiber scrubs harmful bacteria in and out from our intestines and binds to excess hormones (like estrogen and cortisol). One of the biggest benefits of eating raw carrots regularly is binding excess estrogen.
What does bacteria have to do with hormones? Intestinal bacteria is often a major problem with hormonal imbalance. All that bacteria can lead to a chronic burden for the liver, preventing it from functioning thoroughly and doing its regular job of processing and eliminating hormones. An example of this would be “estrogen dominance”.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Due to diet and lifestyle, hormone imbalance is very common. Today, many women in particular deal with excess estrogen in their body (aka estrogen dominance). Too much estrogen circulating in the body can lead to problems. If estrogen continues to be recirculated into the body, without being excreted, women can experience symptoms like:
- Dysregulated thyroid function (remember, your thyroid is the conductor for your hormones/metabolism)
- Hormone imbalance
- Slower metabolism (low energy, the potential for more fat storage)
- Slow digestive motility
- Heavy or painful periods, cysts, endometriosis pain
- Mood disorders
- Ance or skin issues
Considering a majority of your hormonal conversion happens in the liver, it’s important to eat foods that support the liver. Beneficial fiber from raw carrots, cooked bamboo shoots, and/or cooked mushrooms can provide this support. This is one way you can thank your liver for hormonal balance and energy production!
According to Ray Peat, “A carrot salad eaten daily can assist the liver and GI tract in the detoxification process and elimination of endotoxin and excess estrogen, thus improving the function of your metabolism.” In short, eating raw carrot salad is a simple tool that can be beneficial in supporting your liver, GI tract, thyroid (therefore supporting hormone balance and metabolism).
If you struggle with gut dysbiosis or bacterial overgrowth, low thyroid function, digestive issues, premenstrual symptoms (like painful cycles, tender breasts, endometriosis, PCOS, etc), inflammation, low energy, autoimmune response, or menopause symptoms, adding this raw carrot salad just might be a great addition to your daily routine.
BENEFITS OF RAW CARROT SALAD
What are some of the benefits of eating raw carrot salad? Glad you asked. This can be beneficial in:
- Aiding the liver in the detoxification process as toxins are carried away via carrot fiber
- Stimulating digestion
- Reducing endotoxin (aka “bad” gut bacteria)
- Increasing thyroid hormone conversion (by supporting the liver)
- Decreasing stress hormones (like adrenaline and cortisol)
- Relieving premenstrual symptoms
- Detoxing/preventing excess estrogen (estrogen dominance) from being reabsorbed in your gut (hormonal balance)
Peat concludes that “Endotoxin formed in the bowel can block respiration and cause hormone imbalances contributing to the instability of the nerves, so it is helpful to optimize bowel flora, for example with a carrot salad; a dressing of vinegar, coconut oil, and olive oil, carried into the intestine by the carrot fiber, suppresses bacterial growth while stimulating healing of the wall of the intestine. The carrot salad improves the ratio of progesterone to estrogen and cortisol, and so is as appropriate for epilepsy as for premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, or arthritis.”
ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS
Coconut oil is a saturated fat that contains medium-chain fats that have been found to have tremendous health benefits, including increasing metabolic rate.
Vinegar contains an active component – acetic acid that has a disinfecting effect on the bowels and works on a different level to both the raw carrot fiber and coconut oil. Even just a few drops will stop fermentation in the bowel, thereby reducing the chance of endotoxin production from bacterial proliferation.
Salt (sodium) is an essential mineral that’s vital for keeping stress hormones down but supporting your metabolism. It’s also helpful for maintaining stomach acid levels, improving nerve function, and more.
The addition of the coconut oil, salt, and vinegar improves the anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial effects of the carrot fiber.
– 1 medium carrot
– 1 teaspoon coconut oil
– Splash of apple cider vinegar
– Salt to taste
Peel (length-wise) one medium carrot. Rinse peelings under running water.
Add melted coconut oil, vinegar, and a dash of sea salt.
Combine and consume!
When do you eat the raw carrot salad?
I like to eat a raw carrot, or this raw carrot salad, between meals (between breakfast and dinner as a snack or between lunch and dinner as a midday snack). I usually aim for the hour or so before lunch or dinner.
“Since the fiber [CARROT] will delay digestion and reduce the absorption of other foods, I think it’s best to eat it between meals, usually in the afternoon.”- Dr. Ray Peat
Why do you rinse the carrots with water?
For starters, I don’t necessarily eat carrots for my vitamin A (I use beef liver and eggs mostly). Carrots are noted for vitamin A sources. They are high in beta-carotene, which has to be converted to vitamin A (retinol) in the body.
Rinsing the shredded carrots with water decreases the amount of beta-carotene. For those with optimal health and thyroid function, the conversion of beta carotene to vitamin A isn’t an issue. If you are struggling, sometimes the body has a tough time converting the beta-carotene and stores it in tissues, where it can interfere with future vitamin A conversion and block thyroid function.
Fun fact- one way to see if you have poor beta-carotene conversion issues is by looking for orange calluses on your palms (or yellow/orange tinge to the skin on the face).
Do you have to make this fresh every day?
On meal prep days, I spend about ten minutes peeling/shredding the carrots. Next, I’ll rinse, pat dry, and then store in a glass container in the fridge. This way all I have to do is add the coconut oil, vinegar, and salt, and eat. Tip: Keep the carrot peels from going soggy by storing it in a little water in the fridge. It keeps for 5-7 days this way. Change the water every other day for freshness. If I’m in a time crunch or on-the-go during the week, I’ll just go with a raw carrot with a little salt, but I like the salad!
Do you ever add other ingredients to the salad?
Occasionally I’ll add raisins and make it like a carrot-raisin salad. Sometimes I omit the vinegar too, but I like it for the additional benefits.
Does carrot juice work the same?
Carrot juice will not have the same effect as eating carrots whole or peeled/shredded. Carrot juice is high in beta carotene and can have anti-thyroid effects in high amounts. Remember, you want that special fiber!
What kind of carrots should I use?
To reduce excess chemical/pesticide exposure, go for organic carrots. White/rainbow carrots are a great option!