Every now and then, a viral recipe takes off on TikTok. There was Emily Mariko’s salmon bowl, Jenni Häyrinen’s baked feta pasta, and now there’s biologist and world-leading thyroid expert Ray Peat’s raw carrot salad for hormone health. Fans have shared their love for the recipe more than 13 million times with the hashtag #rawcarrotsalad on the video platform.
It’s not only the fact that the recipe is so simple that has TikTokers dedicated to this side dish—it’s also the purported hormonal health benefits it packs. Many claim it helps them with menstrual cramps, clearing up acne, and ending brain fog. But is it truly magic? To find out, we spoke to a nutritionist, hormone specialist, and doctor.
Ray Peat’s Raw Carrot Salad
Yields 1 serving
1 tsp olive or coconut oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Shave carrots lengthwise then add them to a bowl with all other ingredients and enjoy.
Does raw carrot salad help to balance hormones?
The simple answer is, yes, according to holistic nutritionist Elissa Goodman. “Carrots contain unique fibers that help to detox excess estrogen from the body,” she says. This is a common symptom of estrogen dominance, “which is a state where someone has a higher ratio of estrogen compared to progesterone,” says Bill Rawls, MD, co-founder and medical director of Vital Plan, naming two the primary reproductive hormones, alongside testosterone.
Side effects of estrogen dominance include symptoms like PMS, heavy/painful menstrual cycles, headaches, or excess weight around the midsection/hips, acne, but the condition isn’t exclusive to women only. “It absolutely can affect everyone,” says integrative health practitioner and hormone specialist Jenny Branco. “The symptoms really shine through when progesterone, our calming hormone that is supposed to oppose estrogen, is lower than estrogen levels.”
In Bronco’s experience, estrogen dominance is becoming more and more widespread. “It’s the most common hormone imbalance I see, and it’s becoming more and more prevalent due to so many estrogen-mimicking chemicals in our environment, known as endocrine disruptors,” she says. “These can be found in everyday products like plastic Tupperware or bottles.” And Sara Gottfried, MD, author of The Hormone Cure and The Hormone Reset Diet, previously told Well+Good that “most women, starting around age 35, develop estrogen dominance.”
In addition to helping eliminate excess estrogen, “carrots contain antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties which enable them to act as a natural antiseptic and antibiotic in the gut, without all the unwanted side effects,” Branco says. And while carrots are clearly the main character of this salad,, the other ingredients offer their own perks, too. “The coconut oil and vinegar help to further reduce harmful bacteria in the digestive tract, normalizing gut bacteria and therefore rebalancing hormones and supporting metabolic health,” Branco adds.
Should you eat raw carrot salad every day?
While it may be TikTok viral and have hormonal benefits, our experts have mixed reviews on whether eating the salad every day is good for you. Branco recommends eating the raw carrot salad once or twice per day consistently. “It can help to open up those detoxification pathways and fight against hormonal imbalances,” she says.
However, Dr. Rawls isn’t so sure. “Everybody tends to overdo things, especially when something has reached ‘trend’ status,’ he says. Carrots are hardly the only food that can help eliminate excess hormones. “There’s significant evidence that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, normalize estrogen dominance.” And eating a variety of nutritious foods is necessary for overall health.
Goodman agrees, noting that balance is key. “My top tips to balancing hormones include eating enough protein every day, staying hydrated, regular exercise, proper gut health, lowering blood sugar levels, and getting at least eight hours of sleep each night,” she says. “With that said, I eat a carrot just about every day and I think the antioxidants are beneficial, but I wouldn’t start eating bowlfuls of carrot salad every day with expectations that it might balance my hormones.”