The Best Fruits You can Eat to Combat Cancer



Written by: Jeff Taraday

You certainly know by now that fruits can be a healthy part of your diet, but what’s the best way to tell which fruits are the healthiest?

Simply testing nutrient content might not be the best way to go. Comparing vitamin levels might be misleading since looking at isolated nutrients doesn’t paint an accurate picture of a food’s overall nutritional value and there really isn’t a way to test the synergistic effect of all the nutrients working together within each fruit, is there?

What if you were able to test how effective each fruit is at fighting cancer?

That might yield some worthwhile results, right? It sounds good, but a study looking at every fruit on earth might not yield the most practical (or affordable) results. Have fun tracking down Indian gooseberries on a regular basis!

So, what would make the most sense? How about a study of the top 11 most commonly consumed fruits in the United States? Luckily enough, there just so happens to be such a study.

This study used human liver cancer and the scientists tested which fruits would slow down the cancer cell proliferation in vitro. They first dripped water on the cancer cells and they continued to grow at a 100% rate. Then they added different fruits to the cancer cells and tested the growth rates again. The fruits used for this study were apples, bananas, cranberries, grapefruits, grapes, lemons, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapples and strawberries.

Want to know how they each fared? Here are the results, from least effective to most effective…

  • Pineapples, oranges, and pears showed not much of an effect at all.
  • Peaches did a little better, slowing down growth by about 10% at high concentrations.
  • Grapefruits and bananas slowed the cancer growth to about 40% in high concentrations.
  • Apples, red grapes, and strawberries did much better, slowing cancer growth by 50% at only half the concentration of the others.
  • And your winners (drum roll please) were lemons and cranberries! These two fruits caused a major drop in cancer cell growth in relatively tiny doses, with cranberries edging out lemons for the win.

So, what does this mean?

For one, we’ve got another major benefit to drinking lemon squeezed in water every morning! And secondly, it’s time to find a way to get cranberries into your diet more often! Buy fresh cranberries and add them into your juices or smoothies, or make cranberry sauces with oranges or dates. Just watch out for dried cranberries – they’re usually sweetened with added sugar or doused in vegetable oil, two ingredients worth avoiding.


Sun, Y.-F. Chu, X. Wu, R. H. Liu. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of common fruits. J. Agric. Food. Chem. 2002 50(25):7449 – 7454.


Jeff Taraday

Jeff Taraday

Certified Health Coach and Nutritional Education Trainer at The Plant Eater
Jeff Taraday is a reformed junk food addict, barbecue junkie, and beer-swilling frat guy who discovered the power of a whole foods, plant-based diet in in 2010. Switching to a plant-based diet has helped him lose over 40 pounds, clear up his mind, and transform him into a fitness and exercise junkie and a plant-based nutrition advocate.

Jeff is a certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and a Nutritional Education Trainer through the Nutritional Education Institute. He has also completed a certification in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. He is the author of the blog The Plant Eater, and coaches individuals and families how to easily and deliciously incorporate nutrient-dense, plant-centric meals into their daily lives. He currently works as a wellness coach for a corporate wellness consulting firm to improve the lives of the employee populations of companies around the country.

He is also a member of the board of Groceryships, a non-profit that provides grocery scholarships, nutritional education, and emotional support to low-income families in South Los Angeles, California.

For more from Jeff, you can subscribe to his newsletter.
Jeff Taraday


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