Ask The Pharmacist: Stop counting carbs, eat kaempferol

Suzy Cohen

Sometimes a word annoys me, such as flavonoid and all the related words like it including bioflavonoid, bioflavones, flavonol, polyphenol, phytonutrient and oh my gosh you can see how confusing it is to say all those and they all basically mean the same thing: Antioxidant from a plant.

One amazing antioxidant, or flavonoid, or whatever you’d like to call it is kaempferol, pronounced “camp-fur-all.” This is what you’re eating when you bite into raspberries, apples, grapes or tomatoes. It’s also found in spinach, potatoes, onions, kale, endive, lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, lettuce, green beans, peaches, blackberries, cranberries and green tea. One food with a lot of kaempferol is capers.

Fresh raspberries and mint in a basket

By now, you’re wondering why I’m talking about kaempferol. I’m tired of everyone talking about carbs, proteins and fats. None of us want to count calories or evaluate ratios of carbs, proteins and fats! It’s much easier to just eat food that is bright and colorful and full of life-giving nutrients such as kaempferol. My vote is to stop counting carbs, just eat kaempferol. It’s a very promising and innocuous strategy to help with many disorders you’re suffering with: 

Colon cancer

There was a study in 2014 that proved some benefits from kaempferol in human colon cancer cells.

Food poisoning

This is gross but let’s face it, 50 million people worldwide get infected with Entamoeba histolytica. Transmission is pretty easy, it occurs by eating or drinking food or beverages contaminated with the organism, which comes from feces. Kaempferol (and quercetin) was shown to destroy the parasite.

Heart disease 

A study found that women who have high intakes of kaempferol might be less likely to die of a heart attack. It works in part by preventing the oxidation, as in “rusting” of low-density lipoproteins. 

Breast cancer

Breast cancer spreads with the assistance of some compounds in your own body called Matrix metalloproteinases, which we call MMPs for short. Kaempferol slows down cancer cell invasion into other cells (metastasis) by blocking MMPs, specifically MMP-9 expression. So eating foods rich in kaempferol would be a natural consideration for breast health.

Prostate cancer

In Biomedical Reports 2015, we saw that kaempferol could block prostate cell growth to some degree. Kaempferol has many chemopreventative characateristics, both in vivo and in vitro. Epidemiological studies suggest the more kaempferol you consume, the lower your risk of developing cancer.

Alzheimer’s disease

Granted it’s a fruit fly study, but it still shows promise. The flies ate a diet rich in kaempferol for a month, and then they were evaluated for their ability to climb. You can guess the ones who consumed the diet highest in kaempferol had the best climbing ability, memory (however they figured that out!), and acetylcholine levels.

If you’d like to increase kaempferol in your diet, I’ve posted some recipes at my website including one for a Kaempferol Smoothie, and another for a kaempferol salad. 

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit