The simplest and cheapest hormone balancing tool. No excuses not to incorporate this into your mornings.
As found by Ray Peat Ph.D in the 1970s, with his research into hormones and anti-ageing, a medium sized raw carrot, or its equivalent, eaten daily can lower anti-thyroid and inflammatory substances, reduces liver burden, assists the GI tract and liver to detoxify endotoxin* and estrogen.
Raw carrots (and bamboo shoots also) contain unique fibers that don’t feed bacteria, which means they lower inflammation. They also bind to and eliminate unused hormones like estrogen, lower serotonin and histamine, which in turn lower the body’s need to produce cortisol (catabolic stress hormone). Ultimately this increases the efficacy of progesterone and testosterone. These fibers work much in the same way to bind toxins as charcoal.
A carrot salad daily, aids the body in its natural detoxification process. Apparently when grated length-ways (but not put through a blender) enhances the effects of its fibers. But if you can’t be bothered grating; just eat the darn carrot!
Best eaten on an empty stomach before a meal or snack, preferably before midday: Eaten with a meal can lead to hypoglycemia in some people as it will slow the absorption of nutrients from other foods (raw carrot fibers can inhibit the absorption of certain minerals if eaten with other foods).
Whether you struggle with estrogen dominance, low thyroid function, inflammatory conditions, bacterial overgrowth, constipation, liver issues or the usual repercussions of a stressful life, this should be an essential daily routine, just like brushing your teeth:
Daily Detox Carrot Salad
- 1 medium carrot (or equivalent), washed and unpeeled, grated or shredded length-ways with a peeler**
- a dash of vinegar; simple rice vinegar or wine vinegar (no 220) – stimulates HCl and digestion and is also antimicrobial
- 1-2 tsp coconut oil, melted – lowers the requirement for vitamin E, and reduces the toxicity of the unsaturated fats (Cleland, et al.), favoring effective respiration and improving thyroid and progesterone production, and carried into the intestine by the carrot fiber, suppresses bacterial growth while stimulating healing of the wall of the intestine.
- non-iodised white salt (ideally pickling salt if you can get it) – important for lowering adrenalin, aldosterone and serotonin, steadies blood-sugar, hydrates, increases metabolic rate, important source of minerals … and makes everything taste better!
Mix and eat.
** If you can be bothered, use a vegetable peeler to shred carrot length-ways. This maintains the integrity of the carrot’s unique fibers. It can make all the difference to the toxin-binding effects.
Note: if you notice the calluses on your palms turn orange after a period of eating this, it can be to do with poor liver function, an inability to convert carotene (potentially toxic) to Vitamin A and low B12. If this is the case, rinse your grated carrot and squeeze out all the orange-coloured juice, before dressing.
“Endotoxin formed in the bowel can block respiration and cause hormone imbalances contributing to instability of the nerves, so it is helpful to optimize bowel flora, for example with a carrot salad; a dressing of vinegar, coconut oil or 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. There are interesting associations between vegetable “fiber” and estrogens. Because of my own experience in finding that eating a raw carrot daily prevented my migraines, I began to suspect that the carrot fiber was having both a bowel-protective and an antiestrogen effect. Several women who suffered from premenstrual symptoms, including migraine, had their serum estrogen measured before and after the “carrot diet,” and they found that the carrot lowered their estrogen within a few days, as it relieved their symptoms. Indigestible fiber, if it isn’t broken down by bowel bacteria, increases fecal bulk, and tends to speed the transit of material through the intestine, just as laxatives do. But some of these “fiber” materials, e.g., lignin, are themselves estrogenic, and other fibers, by promoting bacterial growth, can promote the conversion of harmless substances into toxins and carcinogens. When there is a clear “antiestrogen” effect from dietary fiber, it seems to be the result of accelerated transit through the intestine, speeding elimination and preventing reabsorption of the estrogen which has been excreted in the bile. Laxatives have this same effect on the excretion of estradiol. Inhibiting bacterial growth, while optimizing intestinal resistance, would have no harmful side effects. Preventing excessive sympathetic nervous activity and maintaining the intestine’s energy production can be achieved by optimizing hormones and nutrition. Something as simple as a grated carrot with salt and vinegar can produce major changes in bowel health, reducing endotoxin absorption, and restoring constructive hormonal functions.” – Excerpt from Article by Ray Peat – Epilepsy and Progesterone
* Endotoxin is a component of the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria formed in the bowel. It’s a bacterial toxin that protects the structure of the bacteria from attack and can cause hormone imbalances contributing to instability of the nerves.
When endotoxin enters the bloodstream during any stress, a host of problems can result because of endotoxin’s systemic toxicity. Raw carrot (along with a good daily bowel movement, saturated fats in place of unsaturated, sufficient non-inflammatory protein, fresh fruits and other digestible foods) can help reduce your endotoxin burden
And an interesting study here on the cholesterol lowering effects of eating a raw carrot (200g) before breakfast. It normalises cholesterol by lowering cortisol and estrogen and helping the thyroid work better. Ultimately this helps convert cholesterol to useful hormones; life-supporting substances.
“Two hundred grams of raw carrot eaten at breakfast each day for 3 weeks significantly reduced serum cholesterol by 11%, increased fecal bile acid and fat excretion by 50%, and modestly increased stool weight by 25%. This suggests an associated change in bacterial flora or metabolism. The changes in serum cholesterol, fecal bile acids, and fat persisted 3 weeks after stopping treatment.” - Am J Clin Nutr September 1979 vol. 32 no. 9 1889-1892. The effect of raw carrot on serum lipids and colon function.
*image credit: halfgalley.squarespace.com