Ray Peat, PhD on the Benefits of the Raw Carrot

Also see:
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Protective Bamboo Shoots
Endotoxin-lipoprotein Hypothesis
Endotoxin: Poisoning from the Inside Out
Protection from Endotoxin
Bowel Toxins Accelerate Aging
Protective Cascara Sagrada and Emodin
Fermentable Carbohydrates, Anxiety, Aggression
Intestinal Serotonin and Bone Loss
Autoimmunity and Intestinal Flora
Are Happy Gut Bacteria Key to Weight Loss?

“Endotoxin or other material absorbed from intestinal bacteria contributes to a variety of autoimmune problems, including thyroiditis (Penhale and Young, 1988). Combining an indigestible fiber, such as raw carrot, with mild germicides, such as vinegar and coconut oil, can improve the hormonal environment, while reducing the immunological burden.”

“My basic approach is to lower estrogen and the stress hormones by diet including a daily carrot salad, supported by thyroid supplements as needed.”

“The food industry is promoting the use of various gums and starches, which are convenient thickeners and stabilizers for increasing self-life, with the argument that the butyric acid produced when they are fermented by intestinal bacteria is protective. However, intestinal fermentation increases systemic and brain serotonin, and the short-chain fatty acids can produce a variety of inflammatory and cytotoxic effect. Considering the longevity and stress-resistance of germ-free animals, choosing foods (such as raw carrots or cooked bamboo shoots or cooked mushrooms) which accelerate peristalsis and speed transit through the bowel, which suppressing bacterial growth, seems like a convenient approach to increasing longevity.”

“It takes a few days for the intestine to adjust to raw carrot, but the indigestible fiber is very protective for the intestine. Boiled bamboo shoots, which are also mostly indigestible, have a similar effect. These fibers prevent the reabsorption of estrogen in the intestine, and can shift the balance away from cortisol and estrogen, toward progesterone and thyroid, in just a few days of regular use. Oatmeal and potatoes do provide fiber, but they are good food for bacteria, and bacterial endotoxin is usually the basic problem causing hormone imbalance, by being a chronic burden for the liver, keeping it from storing enough sugar to process thyroid and the other hormones effectively.”

“Coconut oil added to the diet can increase the metabolic rate. Small frequent feedings, each combining some carbohydrate and some protein, such as fruit and cheese, often help to keep the metabolic rate higher. Eating raw carrots can prevent the absorption of estrogen from the intestine, allowing the liver to more effectively regulate metabolism.”

“Things that protect the bowel, such as raw carrots, have far-reaching effects on hormones and immunity.”

“Besides avoiding foods containing fermentable fibers and starches that resist quick digestion, eating fibrous foods that contain antibacterial chemicals, such as bamboo shoots or raw carrots, helps to reduce endotoxin and serotonin. Activated charcoal can absorb many toxins, including bacterial endotoxin, so it is likely to reduce serotonin absorption from the intestine. Since it can also bind or destroy vitamins, it should be used only intermittently. Frolkis, et al. (1989, 1984) found that it extended median and average lifespan of rats, beginning in old age (28 months) by 43% and 34%, respectively, when given in large quantities (equivalent to about a cup per day for humans) for ten days of each month.”

“Some fibers, such as raw carrots, that are effective for lowering endotoxin absorption also contain natural antibiotics, so regular use of carrots should be balanced by occasional supplementation with vitamin K, or by occasionally eating liver or broccoli.”

“Polysaccharides and oligosaccharides include many kinds of molecules that no human enzyme can break down, so they necessarily aren’t broken down for absorption until they encounter bacterial or fungal enzymes. In a well maintained digestive system, those organisms will live almost exclusively in the large intestine, leaving the length of the small intestine for the absorption of monosaccharides without fermentation. When digestive secretions are inadequate, and peristalsis is sluggish, bacteria and fungi can invade the small intestine, interfering with digestion and causing inflammation and toxic effects. Lactose malabsorption has been corrected just by correcting a deficiency of thyroid or progesterone…Sometimes having a daily carrot salad (grated, with salt, olive oil, and a few drops of vinegar) will stimulate (and disinfect) the small intestine enough to prevent fermentation.”

“Appetizing foods stimulate the digestive secretions, but it’s important to avoid foods that directly trigger an inflammatory reaction, or that are indigestible and as a result support harmful bacterial growth. Cellulose can accelerate transit through the intestine and lower estrogen systemically(partly by simply preventing the reabsorption of estrogen that has been secreted by the bile), but the lignans found in many seeds and grains tend to promote inflammation. Raw carrots, for example, lower estrogen, while flax meal can increase it. Constipation or diarrhea, or their alternation, usually develops when there is inflammation in the bowel. A laxative can sometimes reduce the inflammation, but it’s important to identify the foods that contribute to the problem. A salad of shredded carrot, with oil and vinegar dressing, has a germicidal action, and is stimulating to the digestive processes. Most salad vegetables, though, are likely to produce intestinal irritation, directly or as a result of bacterial decomposition.”

“Estrogenic influences can be significantly reduced by avoiding foods such as soy products and unsaturated fats, by eating enough protein to optimize the liver’s elimination of estrogen, and by using things such as bulk-forming foods (raw carrots, potatoes, and milk, for example) that stimulate bowel action and prevent reabsorption of estrogens from the intestine. Avoiding hypothyroidism is essential for preventing chronic retention or formation of too much estrogen.”

“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 and 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.”

“I have previously discussed the use of antibiotics (and/or carrot fiber and/or charcoal) to relieve the premenstrual syndrome, and have mentioned the study in which the lifespan was extended by occasionally adding charcoal to the diet. A few years ago, I heard about a Mexican farmer who collected his neighbors’ runt pigs, and got them to grow normally by adding charcoal to their diet. This probably achieves the same thing as adding antibiotics to their food, which is practiced by pig farmers in the US to promote growth and efficient use of food. Charcoal, besides binding and removing toxins, is also a powerful catalyst for the oxidative destruction of many toxic chemicals. In a sense, it anticipates the action of the protective enzymes of the intestinal wall and the liver.”

“Since endotoxemia can produce aerobic glycolysis in an otherwise healthy person (Bundgaard, et al., 2003), a minimally “Warburgian” approach–i.e,, a merely reasonable approach–would involve minimizing the absorption of endotoxin. 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. Medical tradition and inertia make it unlikely that the connection between cancer and bowel toxins will be recognized by the mainstream of medicine and governemt. In another article I will describe some of the recent history relating to this issue.”

“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.”

“Aging, stress, and heavy consumption of alcohol increase the permeability of the intestine, causing increased absorption of microbial toxins. Laxatives, carrot fiber (not carrotjuice), activated charcoal, and a small amount of sodium thiosulfate decrease the formation and absorption of toxins, increasing the organism’s adaptive capacity.”

“Because some estrogen is secreted In the bile, adequate fiber in the diet (oats, potato. or raw carrots, for example) and regular bowel function help to prevent the build-up of estrogen, which inhibits the thyroid. (Estrogen which has been excreted in the bile can be reabsorbed from the intestIne if there is slow transit time and too little fiber.) A deficiency of B vitamins or protein is also known to prevent the liver from excreting estrogen. One of the ways in which starvatIon inhibits thyroid function is by damaging the liver function. Vegetarians are somelimes dangerously deficient in protein, and in that state the body is very resistant to thyroid hormone. Elevated serum calcium is probably one of the factors in creating a slate of thyroid-resistance during stress.”

“Adequate protein and B vitamins are essential. Vitamin A protects some tissues, such as the breasts, against estrogen’s effects, including cancer, and generally offers protection against estrogen by increasing progesterone. Several studies found that vitamin E protects against estrogen’s harmful effects. A thyroid supplement can reliably lower estrogen, by increasing the liver’s ability to excrete it. Unsaturated oils have a strongly estrogen- promoting action, and should be avoided. Raw carrots can help, by preventing the reabsorption of estrogen which has been secreted into the intestine with the bile. Adequate sunlight helps to maintain a healthy balance of the hormones in certain circumstances, natural progesterone can help to reestablish a balance of hormones”

“While an excess of carotene can inhibit progesterone synthesis, a carrot salad (grated carrots, vinegar, coconut oil, and salt) can often help to normalize progesterone, apparently by protecting against intestinal absorption of bacterial endotoxin, and by helping to reduce the reabsorption of estrogen which has been excreted in the bile.

The beneficial hormonal effects that have been seen during antibiotic therapy (raising progesterone while lowering cortisol and estrogen) can be achieved safely with the carrot salad in most cases, without the possible toxic effects of the antibiotics.”

“Fasting has been found to relieve rheumatoid arthritis, and there is good evidence that a variety of bowel bacteria are involved in arthritis and other “autoimmune diseases.” Bacterial toxins and antigens interact with hormones and the immune systems, and intestinal health should be considered as an integral part of hormone therapy. Raw carrots, by stimulating the intestine, often help to lower estrogen and increase progesterone. One of the thyroid hormone’s important functions is to improve digestion and bowel health.”

“One vegetable has a special place in a diet to balance the hormones, and that is the raw carrot. It is so nearly indigestible that, when it is well chewed or grated, it helps to stimulate the intestine and reduce the reabsorption of estrogen and the absorption of bacterial toxins. In these effects on the bowel, which improve hormonal balance, a carrot salad resembles antibiotic therapy, except that the carrot salad can be used every day for years without harmful side-effects. Many people find that daily use of the raw carrot eliminates their PMS, headaches, or allergies. The use of oil and vinegar as dressing intensifies the bowel-cleansing effect of the salad. Coconut oil is more germicidal and thyroid promoting than olive oil, but a mixture of coconut and olive oil improves the flavor. Lime juice. salt, cheese and meats can be used to vary the flavor.”

“Chronic constipation, and anxiety which decreases blood circulation in the intestine, can increase the liver’s exposure to endotoxin. Endotoxin (like intense physical activity) causes the estrogen concentration of the blood to rise. Diets that speed intestinal peristalsis might be expected to postpone menopause. Penicillin treatment, probably by lowering endotoxin production, is known to decrease estrogen and cortisone, while increasing progesterone. The same effect can be achieved by eating raw carrots (especially with coconut oil/olive oil dressing) every day, to reduce the amount of bacterial toxins absorbed, and to help in the excretion of estrogen. Finally, long hours of daylight are known to increase progesterone production, and long hours of darkness are stressful. Annually, our total hours of day and night are the same regardless of latitude, but different ways of living, levels of artificial illumination, etc., have a strong influence on our hormones. In some animal experiments, prolonged exposure to light has delayed some aspects of aging.”

“My first suggestion for someone with PMS is to avoid thyroid suppression (darkness and endurance exercise should be avoided), and to use my carrot salad recipe: Grated carrots, vinegar, coconut oil and salt are the essentials, garlic and olive oil are optional. Acetic acid and fatty acids released from the coconut oil act at different levels, and the carrot fiber is a timed-release system which also binds toxins and stimulates the bowel; the salt spares magnesium and tends to inhibit excessive prolactin release.”

“The daily use of a few spoonfuls of bran in the breakfast cereal, or of a carrot as a snack (or grated, as a salad), can prevent practically all constipation. A high fiber diet also lowers the risk of bowel cancer, and is being used increasingly for preventing and treating conditions such as colitis and diverticulitis. It turns out that the popular old ” bland diet” without fiber was just about the worst possible thing for colitis. An extra benefit of carrot fiber, besides the bulk and moisture-holding properties, is that it captures and holds fat molecules, removing them from the body and making weight loss easier. The small amount of sugar in carrots is released slowly, so thai it doesn·t disturb blood sugar as much as would the same amount in a different form.”

“Taking “calories” out of context can give bad results – some people avoid carrots as being “high in calories,” but carrots can be very effective for losing weight, partly because their high fiber content binds a large amount of fat and carries it out of the body.”

“Fiber: Carrot fibers are best for intestinal stimulation and binding of fats:”

“I’m not confident of the purity and proper particle size of the charcoal products that are available, so I think bamboo shoot and carrots, along with cascara sagrada as needed, are the safest way to keep endotoxin and estrogen under control.”

“I think hypothyroidism and bowel inflammation are the important thinks in gout. Raw carrot salad and aspirin, and correcting thyroid function, usually take care of it.”

“Since the fiber [CARROT] will delay digestion and reduce absorption of other foods, I think it’s best to eat it between meals, usually in the afternoon.”

“Yes, the plain carrot is good. For people who want more antimicrobial effect, the saturated fats and vinegar are helpful.”

“The intestine is a potential source of reabsorbed estrogen, and a daily raw carrot (grated or shredded, with a little olive oil, vinegar, salt) helps to lower excess estrogen (and endotoxin produced by bacteria). While lowering estrogen, it is likely to lower cortisol and increase progesterone.”

“Bamboo shoots, raw carrot, and flowers of sulfur are other antiseptics that can reduce the white tongue.”

“They aren’t necessary [FIBER], for example milk supports abundant bacterial growth that creates bulk, but when there are digestive and hormonal problems because of bad intestinal flora, the fibers of carrot and bamboo shoots have a disinfecting action. The carrots must be raw for that effect.”

“When a person wants to lose excess fat, limiting the diet to low fat milk, eggs, orange juice, and a daily carrot or two, will provide the essential nutrients without excess calories.”

“Yes, I know people who have lost weight just by eating a raw carrot every day, reducing endotoxin stress.”

“Yes, that’s why a resistant (antiseptic) fiber such as bamboo shoots or raw carrot helps with weight loss, it reduces endotoxin and the stress hormones, and lets the liver metabolize more effectively.”

“A daily raw carrot often helps to balance progesterone, cortisol, and estrogen, by improving intestine-liver functions.”

“It usually takes several days for the digestive system to adjust, with changes in the intestinal rhythm for example, and during that time things like headache and tooth sensitivity can increase. Increased calcium and fiber (raw carrots or boiled bamboo shoots, for example) can help.”

“It takes a few days for the intestine to change its rhythm of peristalsis, and a couple of weeks for the enzymes to adjust to a change of foods. A daily raw carrot helps it to adjust.”

“For several decades I have watched as traditionally safe foods have been altered, and have found that many people have developed allergic problems when their favorite foods were changed by new technologies. Since intestinal bacteria affect the allergenicity of foods that are poorly digested, changing the flora can often relieve the symptoms. Raw carrot contains some antibiotics that can be helpful; oil and vinegar can increase the germicidal effects. It’s important to use oil and vinegar that aren’t allergenic themselves.”

“In women and rats, antibiotics were found to cause blood levels of estrogen and cortisol to decrease, while progesterone increased. This effect apparently resulted from the liver’s increased ability to inactivate estrogen and to maintain blood sugar when the endotoxin stress was decreased.

Now that hog farmers’ use of antibiotics to stimulate growth has been discouraged, they have sought vegetables that have a natural antibiotic effect, reducing the formation and absorption of the intestinal toxins. The human diet can be similarly adjusted, to minimize the production and absorption of the bacterial toxins.”

Raw Carrot Salad recommended by FPS. Eat between meals.
C = 8g P = 1g F = 9g
117 calories per serving
Serves 1

½ to 1 medium carrot
1 t olive oil
1 t refined coconut oil (or additional 1 t olive oil)
½ t favorite vinegar
Pinch of canning and pickling salt

1. Wash carrot thoroughly.
2. Shred carrot vertically and put in bowl.
3. Mix in remaining ingredients. If coconut oil is hard, melt slightly.
4. Pour dressing on carrot salad.

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8 Responses

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  1. Coconutgal says

    “A high fiber diet also lowers the risk of bowel cancer, and is being used increasingly for preventing and treating conditions such as colitis and diverticulitis.It turns out that the popular old ” bland diet” without fiber was just about the worst possible thing for colitis.”
    Is this quote from Ray Peat?

  2. Team FPS says

    Yes, all of them are. This is an older one from “Nutrition for Women”. Dr. Peat’s learning has evolved since the 1970s when that book was written.

  3. Nassim says

    Thank you!

    Since Dr. Peat’s learning has evolved since the book was written, is the carrot theory still

  4. Team FPS says

    My experience tells me that the ideas expressed regarding the raw carrot are real especially for those with constipation. Simple yet effective.

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