Carrot salad hack: a simple way to cleanse your gut

Written by Steve Collins on May 29, 2024
Ray Peat carrot salad recipe

With so much talk about feeding the bacteria in the gut, let's talk about something very different: not feeding the bacteria in the gut, and how a carrot salad a day can help keep low metabolism, bloating and unbalanced hormones away.

Bacteria need energy, just like anything that's alive. 

They feed on food that makes it to the large intestine (colon) not already fully digested in the stomach and small intestine.  

A lot of food that we call "clean" and "healthy" like salad, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, beans, and legumes are high in fiber - and fiber tends to make it to the large intestine intact.

The role of fiber

There are two basic types of fiber. Insoluble fiber, which doesn't feed bacteria in the gut and isn't fermented by them either, and soluble fiber, which does feed and is fermented by bacteria in the large intestine (colon).

Too much soluble fiber will cause you to give off gas, and grow more and more bacteria in the gut, which can further slow digestion and lower metabolism.

How raw carrots mildly disinfect the gut

Food that grows in dark, moist, warm environments need to be able to resist bacteria. Carrots, in particular, contain mild antibiotics because of this environmental requirement (watch the video for a simple thought experiment).

A carrot eaten contains unique fibers that don’t feed bacteria (insoluble) and lower intestinal inflammation. Carrot fiber also binds to and reduces estrogen, lowers serotonin and histamine, all of which negatively affect digestion and metabolism and ultimately create inflammation.

The humble carrot reduces all of these negative effects that are very common in hypothyroid, metabolically compromised people.

These fibers work in the same way to bind toxins as charcoal does. Like us, you'll find the carrot salad far more tasty than a lump of charcoal to lick.

They are the simplest and cheapest hormone balancing, metabolism improving tool in the book.

Is the carrot salad for me?

If you struggle with estrogen dominance, low thyroid function, inflammatory conditions, bacterial overgrowth, constipation, liver issues or the standard occupational hazards of a busy, stressful life, carrot salad should be included once a day.

Our infamous carrot salad recipe

For 1 serve

  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • Salt, to your taste preference

Can I just eat a raw carrot?

Yes, the raw carrot on its own has a ton of benefits, although there are a few extra benefits from making it into a carrot salad:

  • Adding white vinegar to your carrot salad helps quell any residual fermentation and there for gas. It will also act as a mild anti-bacterial, same as the carrot itself. 
  • Adding coconut or olive oil to the salad helps slow down digestion and gives the carrot fibers more time to do their job. Coconut oil is yet another mild anti-bacterial.
  • Finally, adding salt may help to improve your bowel movement frequency and increase the amount of stomach acid you produce, plus it tastes great.


1. Am J Clin Nutr September 1979 vol. 32 no. 9 1889-1892. The effect of raw carrot on serum lipids and colon function.

2. Armstrong, H., Mander, I., Zhang, Z., Armstrong, D., Wine, E., January 2021. Not all fibres are born equal; variable response to dietary fiber subtypes in IBD.