Best Cancer Fighting Smoothies
Smoothies can be a great way to add nutrition and antioxidants to your diet to help with cancer prevention. If you’ve already received a cancer diagnosis or have a loved one who is fighting cancer, you might be interested in this round-up of the best tips and recipes for Cancer Fighting Smoothies.
Benefits of Smoothies
Whether you’re trying to prevent cancer or you’re undergoing treatment, smoothies are an excellent way to get quick nutrition into your body.
Smoothies are easy to digest. Your blender does a lot of the work of breaking down fibers for you so that you can gain the nutrition benefits of the ingredients.
And, if you add ingredients like dark leafy greens or other veggies to your smoothie, you can transform it from just an ordinary blended drink to a superfood powerhouse. Read more of the health benefits of drinking green smoothies.
When I was undergoing my own cancer diagnosis and treatment back in 2012, I ate a ton of smoothies. I was so stressed out that it was hard to eat anything else. I even took some frozen smoothies to the hospital with me.
If you think you don’t like smoothies, try again! It’s easy to vary your milk, fruit, and extras to get a flavor you like. Think about favorite milkshakes or desserts you’ve had in the past – I bet you can evoke similar flavors in your blender.
Here are some tips for making the tastiest and healthiest smoothies.
Note: these smoothie recipes are not meant to replace any type of cancer treatment as prescribed by your doctor. This post is meant to help inform about the potential benefits of these types of smoothies.
Choose a plant-based milk based on your tastes or allergies. Almond milk, coconut milk, or coconut water are all great options. Make sure to reach for unsweetened formats, and watch the fat content. If you need to gain weight, cashew or coconut may be good options. Almond milk has fewer calories if you just need a lower calorie base.
To save money, try making your own homemade dairy-free milks. Depending on the quality of your blender, you can make your own plant milks in just minutes.
If you aren’t on a dairy-free diet, you can certainly use regular dairy milk as the base of your smoothie as well. Here are some health reasons to consider going dairy-free, though.
Fruit is frozen at the peak of freshness. This means you can enjoy your favorites year-round and don’t have to wait for them to be in season.
The fruit is also usually prepared for you to “dump and go” as it’s been peeled, cored, and chopped. While most fruit is unsweetened, always take a glance at the ingredient list to be sure.
See my clean eating grocery list for more healthy food shopping tips.
It really is true that you can hide a lot of nutrition in smoothies with vegetables! Leafy greens are so nutritious, but often hard to eat raw or cooked if you aren’t accustomed to their flavors.
Baby spinach can be added raw, and if you don’t add too much at once you won’t notice the flavor (though you will see the color!). Also try kale, collard greens, bok choy, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, and more. Cruciferous vegetables are the most studied and renowned for their cancer-fighting abilities, so opt for these first.
Many grocery stores also carry a large variety of frozen vegetables. Butternut squash is a lot of work to prepare from raw with the peeling, chopping, and roasting. But you can easily add frozen, cubed squash to your smoothie from the freezer section! Riced cauliflower and broccoli are very popular right now so they are also sold frozen.
Save money by buying your frozen fruits in bulk. I have an extra freezer in my garage partially devoted to bags of frozen berries and other fruits. See more of my tips for eating healthy on a budget.
Fat adds a lot to smoothies – pairing fresh produce with fats really helps you absorb the nutrition. Even if you are paying attention to your weight, you should add some healthy fats to aid in digestion. A little goes a long way.
Chia seeds, hemp seeds, and unsweetened coconut can add some fun crunch to a smoothie bowl. Nut butters can add fun flavors like making a Peanut Butter Cauliflower Smoothie!
If you want your smoothie to be a filling meal, reach for your favorite unsweetened protein powder. As always, read the ingredients carefully to make sure there aren’t any hidden sweeteners you don’t want.
See my list of the best paleo protein powders that are all unsweetened with no questionable ingredients.
This is where you can have a bit of fun! Cacao or cocoa powder can change the flavor, and cinnamon can add some warmth like making a pumpkin spice smoothie. These extras can also help hide any lingering flavors from your leafy greens.
Best Smoothie Blenders
If you are making smoothies just for yourself, you may want to try one of the various single-serving blenders on the market (see my recommendations below).
They usually have a cup that screws onto the blade attachment so you can blend right in the cup you are drinking from – just swap out the blade for a drinking lid or straw and be on your way.
A downside to these types is if your mixture is too thick you can’t open a lid to add liquid mid-blend. You also have the risk of leaving your cup at work or somewhere else. And, of course, you can only make one serving of smoothie at a time.
A standard kitchen blender might work for the most basic smoothie recipes. Look for ones that mention an ice crushing feature or “good for milkshakes.”
This means they should be able to handle a basic smoothie of frozen fruit and liquid, though you might need to add more liquid than desired to keep things moving.
This is a good starter option to see if you enjoy smoothie making. Keep in mind this blender may not be able to fully incorporate leafy greens.
The most expensive option is a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec. They are powerful enough to pulverize leafy greens and even whole nuts. This is the best option if you like to add a lot of extras to your drink and if you want the smoothest texture.
Another huge benefit is the ability to make full recipes in your blender such as oat blender pancakes or soups. Many times these blenders can also roughly chop items like onions and garlic so you don’t need a food processor.
A high speed blender is what I personally use and recommend most often. It is a worthwhile investment.
Storage & Make-Ahead Tips
Smoothies can be made ahead. Whether you make extra on purpose, or you make more than you can drink at once after you add all your extras, it is very easy to store.
The texture won’t be the same, but you can store your smoothie in a jar in the fridge. It will separate some but can easily be stirred and ready to go. You can also freeze leftovers in a popsicle mold for a fun treat (see my complete list of clean eating snacks)!
If you prefer your smoothies made fresh, “smoothie packs” are a great option. Add your desired fruit and extras to a Ziploc bag and store in the freezer so you can add to your blender with liquid. You can re-use the bags, just store them in the freezer even when empty so they don’t get moldy.
- Always remember to check all ingredients for added sugars. They add up quickly! If you’ve used all unsweetened items, you can always add a touch of honey if desired.
- Experiment with flavors and textures. Berries can have a seedy texture even with a high powered blender and adding too many greens can turn the smoothie bitter. Just keep trying until you have a favorite.
- Double-check with your cancer treatment plan or doctor to make sure all ingredients you choose fit into your plan for optimal health. Just because an ingredient is healthy doesn’t mean it is beneficial to your current plan.s
A smoothie has the most potential to help prevent cancer when it includes cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables have lots of research showing their cancer preventing properties.
That said, even eating more berries and other antioxidant-rich foods can help with cancer and disease prevention.
There is no research showing that smoothies can help kill cancer once it has formed into a tumor. If you have a current cancer diagnosis, please consult your healthcare team for the best diet, supplement, and lifestyle techniques to help manage your disease. Many cancer centers have specialized oncology nutritionists.
Cancer-Fighting Smoothie Recipes
Smoothies are delicious and nutritious. They offer so many health benefits and have so many options. You can make them ahead or make them in minutes. Make sure and share your favorite combos in the comments.
Note: this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations related to your individual situation.