Myth or fact? Nutritionists weigh in on the #rawcarrotsalad trend

#Rawcarrotsalad has 8.6 million views on TikTok, with many users claiming that eating salad daily has helped balance their hormones.

Specifically, influencers and regular users of the app say that one of the main health benefits of the salad is lowering levels of estrogen, a hormone associated with reproductive and sexual development, especially in women.

“This has definitely become a staple in my diet to balance out the excess estrogen that can peak at different times in my cycle,” said Paige Nicole, a TikToker, in her Raw Carrot Salad video.

Other users say they’ve also noticed a change in liver and thyroid function. And some even attribute the vegetarian meal to weight loss.

The many raw carrot salad recipes in the app typically include additives like olive oil and apple cider vinegar—two ingredients that have proven health benefits in their own right.

But with anything that goes viral on the internet, it’s important to know if the science backs up the claim.

Here’s what nutritionists have to say about the trend and whether or not eating raw carrots can help with hormone balance.

Can #rawcarrotsalad really balance your hormones?

There aren’t any in-depth studies that specifically examine the effects of raw carrots on estrogen levels, says Sue-Ellen Anderson Haynes, a registered dietitian nutritionist and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Your gut is one of the main regulators of circulating estrogen in the body, according to a review published in Maturitas, an international journal of post-reproductive health.

So, eating fibrous foods around your menstrual cycle, when the highest levels of estrogen are produced, can be helpful.

“It turns out that this ‘eating raw carrots’ TikTok trend has some truth to it, because eating fibrous, raw foods can help your gut release that extra estrogen,” says Anderson Haynes. “The good bacteria in your gut use the fiber and turn it into substances that improve gut, reproductive and overall health.”

There are microbes in the gut that secrete enzymes to break down estrogen, and if the enzymes aren’t secreted, the estrogen isn’t broken down, she says.

When estrogen isn’t broken down and excreted, it accumulates and can increase the risk of endometriosis, PCOS, cancer and infertility, she notes.

But some of the videos on TikTok specifically talk about people with estrogen dominance — higher levels of estrogen compared to progesterone, which is a hormone associated with menstruation and pregnancy.

Raw carrot salad “isn’t necessarily going to work for estrogen dominance unless the reason your estrogen is dominant is because your estrogen is completely high,” says Melissa Groves Azzaro, a registered dietitian and nutritionist who specializes in hormone balance, fertility and PCOS.

These are three possible causes of estrogen dominance, according to Groves Azzaro: your estrogen levels are high, your progesterone levels are low compared to estrogen, or your estrogen is being detoxified in a less beneficial way.

“Carrots will not help raise progesterone levels. You don’t necessarily notice an impact,” she says.

No, carrots are not the best vegetable for hormone balance

“The raw carrot salad trend falls into the category of not necessarily harmful, [but] probably not very helpful,” says Groves Azzaro.

While fibrous foods like carrots can be helpful for people with abnormally high estrogen levels, it’s not the only or even the best vegetable for regulating your hormone balance.

“They’re probably number ten on the list,” says Groves Azzaro, “All cruciferous vegetables lower estrogen. I usually recommend one to two cups of cruciferous vegetables a day.”

Groves Azzaro recommends eating these cruciferous vegetables and other foods for hormone balance daily:

  • Broccoli sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Radishes
  • Vegetables
  • cabbage
  • A turnip
  • Citrus fruits
  • Forest fruits
  • Linseed

“It’s not one food we eat, not one supplement we take, not one particular lifestyle change that makes the difference,” she says.

“It has to be about the overall consistent actions we take every day.”

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