Key Takeaways

  • Studies estimate that it’s possible to prevent 30-40% of all cancers with proper dietary and lifestyle changes
  • In this study, a machine learning platform identified potential cancer-beating molecules (CBMs) in common ingredients and foods
  • So far, 110 effective CBMs were identified using this algorithm
  • The foods with the highest number of different CBMs are cabbage, carrot, celery, coriander, dill, grape, orange, and tea

Actions to Consider

  • Eat more of the mentioned ingredients with the highest content of potential cancer-beating molecules: cabbage, carrot, celery, coriander, dill, grape, orange, and tea
  • In general, aim for a diverse diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, and various spices to get as many different CBMs as possible

Diet: Our most accessible tool for longevity

As the average life expectancy around the world continues to grow, global healthcare is dealing with an ever-increasing burden from chronic diseases, cancer, autoimmune conditions, and metabolic disorders.

It’s possible to prevent many of these health issues with the right lifestyle and dietary changes.

The food one eats is the greatest modifiable pillar of  health. It’s important to identify the ingredients with the highest content of beneficial molecules that could help in the prevention of chronic conditions, cancer, and other disorders.

After all, extending lifespan isn’t preferred without similarly extending healthspan.

What is this study about?

Published in the Scientific Reports journal in 2019, this study tested if a machine learning algorithm would be able to identify cancer-beating molecules (CBMs) in usual ingredients and foods based on their similarity with the simulated properties and action of a database of conventional medications.

How did an algorithm evaluate molecules?

The profile of 7962 molecules from different ingredients and foods were uploaded into the algorithm and compared with a simulated profile of 1962 conventional drugs, 199 of which were initially classified as ”anti-cancer.” The major goal was to identify previously unnoticed structural and functional similarities between these molecules and the medications, and thus pinpoint potential natural remedies that could be incorporated into one’s diet.

The algorithm predicted 110 compounds to have significant anti-cancer properties,

Nature’s best sources of cancer-beating molecules

Among the ingredients and foods included in the study, cabbage, carrot, celery, coriander, dill, grape, orange, and tea were found to contain the highest number of different CBMs.

Here are some examples of these beneficial molecules:

  • Tea is rich in catechins (epigallocatechin gallate), tannins (procyanidin), and terpenoids (lupeol)
  • Orange contains flavonoids (dydimin) and limonoid glucose (obacunone)
  • Cabbage and broccoli are rich in 3-indole-carbinol, a strong anti-cancer molecule
  • Apigenin is a flavone found in citrus fruit, coriander, parsley, and dill

Although each of these compounds has peculiar actions and individual benefits, a few features they all share is significant antioxidative potential, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer action.


Thanks to the latest advances in machine learning and data science, researchers have identified over a hundred beneficial compounds that could be effective in fighting cancer.

The main downside of this study is that its algorithm doesn’t take into account the concentration  and effective dose of the revealed CBMs. In other words, it does a great job in finding potential cancer-killing foods, but it doesn’t answer the question if it’s physically possible to eat enough of these ingredients for a substantial effect.

Link to study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45349-y

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