Does The Trendy Raw Carrot Salad Really Balance Your Hormones?

A carrot a day keeps the mood swings away ... or does it? Since first taking off around the summer of 2021, the raw carrot salad trend has taken social media by storm. The hashtag #rawcarrotsalad has now surpassed 22.1 million views on TikTok, with more people adding and reacting to videos every day. Carrots might be yummy, but what's so special about a carrot salad? This trend has been propelled by influencers like Paige Nicole, a holistic health advocate on TikTok who claims the salad aids in her intestinal health and balances their hormones, specifically estrogen, among other benefits (via Newsweek).  

The raw carrot salad trend may seem harmless enough. After all, there are plenty of worse internet trends we could be doing (cinnamon challenge, anyone?). But could millions of viewers be falling for a health trend that doesn't actually have many benefits? What could raw carrots possibly have to do with hormone levels? Here's what science has to say about what carrots can and can't do for your gut and hormone health.

Yes, carrots could help your hormones

What does it mean to have a hormonal imbalance? Healthline defines a hormonal imbalance as an over-abundance or scarcity of any given hormone, such as estrogen, progesterone, or cortisol. Some signs of a hormone imbalance could include stubborn weight, fatigue, dry skin, irritability, depression, and more. While they may not seem related, your gut plays a big role in metabolizing excess hormones, particularly estrogen. When your gut is balanced, microbes known as estrobolome metabolize just the right amount of free-floating estrogen in your body. When your gut is unhealthy, they can metabolize either too much or too little estrogen (via Kresser Institute). 

Estrogen tends to peak around days 10 to 13 in your menstrual cycle, just before ovulation (via VeryWell Health). During the follicular phase (the time between your period and ovulation) it may actually be beneficial to eat more raw carrot salads, which contain a lot of gut-boosting fiber. Sue-Ellen Anderson Haynes is a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She tells CNBC, "It turns out that this 'eating raw carrots' TikTok trend has some truth to it because eating fibrous, raw foods can help your gut to release this extra estrogen." Because hormones can be knocked out of balance by some conditions, carrot salads may be especially helpful for people who are coming off of hormonal birth control, recovering from pregnancy, dealing with PCOS, or going through menopause.

Carrots aren't miracle-workers

Because they're chock full of vitamins and fiber, it's not likely that any doctor will tell you to avoid the trendy raw carrot salad. However, some might caution you not to expect any miracles from this TikTok trend. There are dozens of raw carrot salad recipes circling the internet these days, and many contain other healthy ingredients like avocado, apple cider vinegar, or chia seeds. When it comes to improving your gut health and hormones, some of these ingredients might actually be more helpful than the carrots themselves. According to Prevention, avocados are known to balance cortisol, while flaxseeds and chia seeds protect against cancer, provide fatty acids, and stabilize your metabolism. 

Carrots have lots of benefits for your whole body, but there may be some vegetables that are even better for targeting your reproductive health and hormones. Dietitian nutritionist Melissa Groves Azzaro says, "It's all of the cruciferous veggies that lower estrogen. I typically recommend one to two cups of cruciferous veggies a day" (via CNBC). If you really want to support your gut's microbiome, add broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, or collard greens to your carrot salad, and eat plenty of high-antioxidant foods like berries, nuts, and dark chocolate (or an occasional glass of red wine).