Best anti-cancer smoothie ingredients

You’re going to get a lot of smoothie recipes in this article that contain ingredients known for their possible anti-cancer properties.
Let’s list a bunch of those ingredients right now, and explore the evidence and research that’s been done. There are many other foods that may be good for preventing cancer and easing side effects of treatment, (i.e. tomatoes) but I’m going to discuss the ones that work in smoothies.


Pretty much all fruits contain nutrients shown to prevent and fight cancer, especially antioxidants. However, these are the ones that are especially good. They will make repeat appearances in the recipes in this article.

Red grapes

Red grapes are packed with antioxidants and cancer-fighting nutrients. The skin contains resveratrol, which lab studies suggest may slow or even prevent tumor growth in the liver, stomach, skin, colon, breast, and more. Red grapes also have quercetin, a flavonoid that may slow down cancer growth.


Berries like blueberries, blackberries, and so on have lots of very powerful antioxidants. These could help prevent the development of free radicals. Animal studies with breast cancer, and blueberries and black raspberries have shown good results. More research is needed to determine how exactly berries impact cancer in humans, but the fruits are definitely beneficial in some way.


Apples are a good source of phytochemicals, which include quercetin and triterpenoids. These are antioxidants. Apples also contain polyphenols, which may prevent inflammation. Early research shows the polyphenols might inhibit cancerous cell growth. One specific type of polyphenol, phloretin, inhibited growth of breast cancer cells in a study from 2018. Organic unsweetened applesauce is also a good choice for smoothies.


Cherries, both sweet and tart, also contain phytochemicals. Tart cherries in particular may have better cancer-fighting properties, however. In lab studies, the antioxidants in tart cherries reduced cancer growth. The amount of antioxidants in tart cherry juice is similar to fresh cherries, so cherry juice is also a good smoothie ingredient.


Cranberries are full of fiber and vitamin C, as well as a specific compound shown to reverse and slow the development of gum disease.

Why does this matter? People with gum disease have a significantly higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer, which is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States. Eating cranberries or drinking organic cranberry juice is a great way to protect your gum health, and as a result, your pancreatic health.


In addition to being a delicious source of hydration, which is very important for cancer patients, watermelons have a lot of lycopene, a type of phytochemical. Lycopene is most recognized in tomatoes, but studies show that the lycopene in watermelon is just as well-absorbed. In fact, you could absorb more lycopene from watermelon than raw tomatoes.

Papaya and mango

Papaya is full of lycopene and carotenoids, which are known to fight free radical cells. A lab study done on papaya leaf extract showed it fought against lab-grown tumors.

The extract also boosted certain chemicals that strengthen the immune system.Mango, which is probably the more popular tropical fruit (at least here in the United States), contains antioxidants and polyphenols. In a study from 2014, researchers exposed breast cancer cells to these polyphenols and found that they significantly decreased cell growth. Mango has also shown a positive effect on inflammatory bowel disease and subsequently colon cancer.


For a really healthy smoothie, vegetables are a must-use ingredient. They add really potent antioxidants and other nutrients like fiber. While not always as tasty as fruit, their flavors can be hidden, if necessary, and their sweetness enhanced with other ingredients.

Leafy greens

A true superfood, it’s no surprise that leafy green veggies may have cancer-fighting properties. These veggies are packed with antioxidants like lutein and beta-carotene.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, there’s lab research suggesting that the carotenoids in dark leafy greens can halt cancer growth, specifically in breast, skin, lung, and stomach cancer. Leafy greens include:

◘ SpinachKale
◘ Swiss chard
◘ Collard greens
◘ Beet greens
◘ Romaine lettuce


This veggie contains antioxidants like luteolin, which in lab studies demonstrated anti-cancer properties, and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene has been studied for its possible ability to guard cell membranes and slow cancer cell growth. Other phytochemicals in carrots may protect against specific cancers like breast, mouth, and stomach cancer.


This vibrant vegetable contains betalain, an antioxidant shown to have anti-cancer effects. Research on animals suggests it can prevent the formation of carcinogens, substances that can lead to cancer, and boost production of your immune cells.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are bright orange, and the reason for that is compounds known as carotenoids. These are essentially antioxidants, and in lab studies, they control cell growth and help reduce a person’s risk for cancer. Sweet potatoes are also a good source for nutrients like potassium and fiber.

Wheat grass

A health food powerhouse, wheat grass is full of antioxidants and may be able to lower cancer risk, and also help with the side effects of chemotherapy. How? During chemotherapy, patients might experience myelotoxicity, which harms the immune system. Wheat grass juice reduces that myelotoxicity, according to a study done with patients going through breast cancer and chemotherapy.

Spices, seeds, nuts, and herbs

Fruits and veggies may make up the bulk of a smoothie, but spices, seeds, nuts, and herbs can add essential nutrients and flavor. A little goes a long way, so it’s also an affordable way to use ingredients. I’ve included green tea and coffee in this section, even though they are beverages, because tea leaves are more like herbs, and coffee beans are seeds. As with the section before, there are many other spices, seeds, nuts, and herbs that show cancer-preventing properties, but we’re going to describe the ones used frequently in smoothies.


An ingredient most commonly found in curries, turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory traits. According to research from the American Cancer Society, curcumin might prevent the development of cancer cells and shrink tumors. Research is still in the relatively early stages, but turmeric seems to have the most fighting power against bowel, stomach, skin, and breast cancer.


A warming spice, cinnamon has been used medicinally for centuries. It contains antioxidants like polyphenols, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. According to studies, it may help reduce cancerous cell growth and even kill them.


There isn’t much research on ginger and cancer, though scientists are focused on its effects on ovarian cancer right now. In at least one study with mice, ginger halted cancer growth. However, the main reason we’ve included ginger is because of its long history as an ingredient that eases nausea. 

Some studies support that ginger can even help patients after chemotherapy, but again, the research is still new. Some people are adamant that ginger is a lifesaver when it comes to nausea, while others aren’t as affected. You’ll have to try it for yourself.


Flaxseed contains lots of fiber, magnesium, and thiamin. It also has omega-3 fatty acids, which possess anti-inflammatory effects. Since inflammation is believed to have a connection to cancer, flaxseed could have benefits.

There’s also research that shows a connection to foods high in fiber (like flaxseed) and a lower risk for colorectal cancer. Research is still in its early stages, but flaxseed may reduce cancer cell growth in men with prostate cancer. You should also know, however, that flaxseed might interfere with the absorption of medication, so talk to your doctor before using the ingredient.

Chia seeds

These little seeds are full of nutrients like fiber, protein, and antioxidants. According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the seeds may also have anti-cancer qualities. Because of the fatty acids and their anti-clotting properties, chia seeds may increase your risk of bleeding. Talk to your doctor before incorporating them into your smoothies.

Sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Full of nutrients like thiamin, vitamin E, and selenium, sunflower seeds are antioxidant-rich. Vitamin E in particular may protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, so it lowers your risk for cancer. Specific studies have shown that sunflower seed oil may help reduce risk of breast cancer.

Pumpkin seeds have comparable benefits and nutrients like manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. Sunflower seeds are slightly higher in phytosterols, which studies show can help fight breast, lung, liver, stomach, prostate, and ovarian cancer.

Tree nuts

Recent research suggests that cashews and other tree nuts have positive effects on colon cancer patients. Researchers aren’t sure why exactly, though it may be because of the fact that cashews decrease insulin resistance, so more studies are needed. Like most nuts, cashews are healthy for other reasons, like their high antioxidant count.Walnuts have lots of polyphenols, compounds that we’re mentio
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