Fruit, vegetables give better tan than sun

Jan. 12, 2011 at 1:23 AM

NOTTINGHAM, England, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Eating a healthy diet high in fruit and vegetables provides more of a golden glow than a tan from the sun, researchers in Britain suggest.

Study leader Dr. Ian Stephen of The University of Nottingham in England and his research team concluded people who eat more portions of fruit and vegetables per day have a more golden skin color, thanks to substances called carotenoids -- responsible for the reddish/orange coloring in fruit and vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes.

Carotenoids are antioxidants that help soak up damaging compounds produced by stress, especially when the body is combating disease, Stephen says.

"Most people think the best way to improve skin color is to get a suntan, but our research shows that eating lots of fruit and vegetables is actually more effective," Stephen says in a statement. "We found that, given the choice between skin color caused by suntan and skin color caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin color, so if you want a healthier and more attractive skin color, you are better off eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables than lying in the sun."

The findings are published in the Journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

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