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Kaempferol and an Anti-Ovarian Cancer “Green” Smoothie

Ovarian cancer remains the most deadly form of gynecologic cancer, mainly due to the fact that the vast majority of women are not diagnosed until the disease has become very advanced.  Due to its high mortality rate, it certainly makes sense to take preventative measures, especially if you have a family history and diet is a great place to start (click here to learn more ways you can reduce your risk).

Food Fight

Studies have shown that high consumption of plant-based foods that contain flavonoids may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by nearly half.  HALF!!

Flavonoids and ovarian cancer risk: A case–control study in Italy

Kaempferol is a natural flavonol, a type of flavonoid that can be found in many fruits and vegetables, including: Brussels sprouts, tea, grapefruit, broccoli, cabbage, kale, endive, onions/leeks, apples, tomato, red grapes, red wine and many berries.

Last fall I caught an episode of The Dr. Oz show featuring Dr. William Li of The Angiogenesis Foundation.  Dr. Li and Dr. Oz were discussing ovarian cancer and some of the foods that have shown to be protective against ovarian cancer (click here to read more on  According to Dr. Li, studies in the Netherlands have shown that women who ate endive (a good source of kaempferol) had a 75% reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer.  75%!!

I found a few studies if you are interested in reading more:

Kaempferol enhances cisplatin’s effect on ovarian cancer cells through promoting apoptosis caused by down regulation of cMyc.

Kaempferol induces apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells through activating p53 in the intrinsic pathway

Dr. Li did a TED talk back in 2010 and it’s fascinating.  The power of real food never fails to astound me.

 Go Green!

That all being said, how does one realistically go about consuming all the powerful cancer-fighting foods, especially when you’re not used to eating dark, leafy greens and cruciferous veggies?  Green Smoothies!

If the idea of adding kale or in this case, endive, to a fruit smoothie sounds questionable to you, don’t fret.  The fruit honestly cancels out the “greenness” of the greens.  When you’re first starting out, you may require more fruit in your smoothie, but over time you may be surprised to find yourself cutting back on the higher sugar fruits and bumping up the quantity of greens. I’ve been drinking green smoothies daily for a year now and today my favorite smoothie is a combination of berries, apples, greens (and sometimes broccoli or Brussels sprouts), raw nuts or avocado, tart cherry juice and water.  On the odd day I miss a green smoothie, I can tell.  My day just doesn’t seem to pack the same punch and I tend to snack more on things I shouldn’t be snacking on, like sweets.  I definitely credit my daily smoothie for helping me kick my sugar addiction.

And yes, even my kids and husband love green smoothies, my “trick” it to keep them out of the green color zone which is easy to do if you go heavy on the blueberries and blackberries.  And a mom bonus?  Being able to sneak the notorious kid-adverse green veggies into their diet without them knowing, makes for a much more pleasant dinner hour.  Don’t want to eat your broccoli tonight honey?  Well…okay! 😉


Anti-Ovarian Cancer “Green” Smoothie

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 16 - 24 ounces

Anti-Ovarian Cancer “Green” Smoothie

This green smoothie recipe is my kids' favorite. It has a sweet, tropical flavor that takes me back to my honeymoon in Maui. Since it is higher in sugar than most of the smoothies I make, we limit this one to just once a week.

I use a Vita-Mix, which has a 68-ounce container. If your blender is smaller, you will need to scale back on the proportions.


  • 1/2 cup Raw Walnuts
  • 2 heads Belgian Endive
  • 1 cup Red Grapes
  • 1 Apple, cored
  • 1 Ripe Banana
  • 1/2 cup Pineapple, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup Raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup Strawberries, fresh or frozen,
  • 1/2 cup sliced Peaches, fresh or frozen
  • 1/3 cup canned Coconut Milk
  • 3 cups Water


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender (preferably a high powered blender) and blend for approximately 1 minute, longer if using a standard blender.

 Milk, does it really do a body good?

While doing research for this post, I discovered something rather interesting: Lactose consumption *may* be associated with increased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer.

A prospective study of dietary lactose and ovarian cancer.

Milk, milk products and lactose intake and ovarian cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies

Learn more about Ovarian Cancer


Risk Factors

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed?

Visit the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance for more information.



  1. I just got my Vitamix in December and LoVe it. I am getting a daily dose of kale and will start trying endive! I have found that if my kids drink the smoothies from a covered straw cup, that makes all the difference. Thanks for all the great posts, good insights and amazing recipes!

  2. Heidi, what a terrific post! This one will help so many. I had no idea on endive! Wow, spreading that fact would make endive's sales go through the roof. I will definitely be adding endive to some of my green smoothies in the future. That smoothie and photo are gorgeous. Thanks for instantly taking me back to our 20th anniversary vacation in Maui, too. Marvelous times for sure! One more thing I want to mention, the doctor who diagnosed me with celiac who has celiac herself and is also a gyecologist/obstetrician told me that even though I have had a hysterectomy with my ovaries removed, it's still possible for me (or anyone else in same situation) to get ovarian cancer. How? She said that doctors who remove ovaries have to be so careful not to nick one's bladder when removing them that some ovarian tissue often gets left behind. The likelihood of getting ovarian cancer after a total hysterectomy (TAH/BSO) is much, much smaller, of course, but it is there. So all of us women need to be drinking these smoothies and preventing ovarian cancer.



    • Oh wow Shirley, I did not know it was still possible to get ovarian cancer after a total hysterectomy, thank for sharing that information. My great aunt (not blood related) died of ovarian cancer, she had no idea until she was stage 4. It was scary to see how fast it can take a person down. As I was researching ovarian cancer for this post I realized that many of the symptoms are also symptoms of celiac/gluten intolerance, symptoms like bloating. It suddenly became clear why many doctors urge people to get tested before going on the gluten free diet, just in case there's a a more deadly reason behind the symptoms.

      Ever since watching that Dr. Oz show, I've been eating endive life crazy, LOL! 😀


  3. I love the idea of keeping the smoothies out of the green color zone 🙂 I am a huge green smoothie fan, yet I have not had endives in too long – this smoothie is totally inspiring me to add endive to my smoothie repertoire.

  4. It isn't just kids. I have to admit, I really don't like drinking green things. I add berries to mask it from myself AND my husband 🙂 I still can't do kale in a smoothie. I actually love greens, but am a super-taster, and no amount of berries and bananas can mask that kale from me! I'd rather have it in a salad or stir-fry. I'm guessing I'd be the same with endive, which I am so glad you mentioned! I've never had it, but saw it at TJ's. Time for me to start adventuring some new veggies. Thanks Heidi!

  5. what you're failing to mention is all these wonderful greens are also goitrogenic which can disrupt Thyroid gland function. Many people on the glten spectrum have Thyroid Disease of one sort or another and need to know this. It's not going to benefit someone with any endocrine imbalance be it ovarian/reproductive, adrenal, thyroid, pituitary/hypothalamic to eat leafy greens raw.

    I was eating loads of raw greens and long story short, my benign adenoma went from being stable/ functioning well to hypofunctioning with high TSH levels. I can't take medication as it causes allergic reaction. I read more about goitrotgenisis. I started cooking my greens and increased varieties while remaining on budget.

    Cooked doesn't mean boiled to death. Light saute, steam, wilting in a microwave (which has it's own set of controversy) with a touch of coconut oil, cream, spread is quite tasty and can help improve overall metabolism.

    BTW- I'm an invasive cercival cancer survivor of 22 years. I take cancer seriously and there's a lot we're not being told abbout causes and prevention.

    • Hi Christine,

      Thank you for the information and I agree that it is important to know which foods contain Glucosinolates and can have an anti-thyroid effect by blocking the thyroid's ability to absorb iodine.

      Endive however, is not one of them:… which is why I didn't bring it up in this post about an endive smoothie and ovarian cancer risk. I haven't had a thyroid in 8 years since mine was ablated due to Graves disease. Wish I knew then, what I know now. Perhaps I could have saved my thyroid gland. 😀


  6. Oh dear, my smoothies are swamp green 🙂 Spirulina! This is such a pretty smoothie. Belgian endives are on my grocery list! xoxo