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Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Results in Healthier Looking Skin

Most people know that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables is good for maintaining a healthy weight. What may come as a surprise is that it may also be good for your skin tone. This is the finding of a study published in the journal PloS One on March 7, 2012.

Researchers from the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom conducted two corresponding studies examining the effect of carotenoids—the phytochemicals found in fruit and vegetables—on skin tone and external perception of health.

For the first study, 35 Caucasian participants recorded their fruit and vegetable consumption during the course of 6 weeks. Diet and skin tone were recorded at baseline and after three and six weeks. The researchers reported that the increased consumption of fruit and vegetables resulted in measurable skin tone changes. Specifically, skin redness and yellowness increased.

The second study investigated how much skin color change was needed to confer the appearance of healthiness. They found that increased redness and yellowness in the skin resulted in the participants being viewed as more attractive and healthy. They noted that even small increases of consumption yielded results - —2.91 portions a day to enhance apparent health and 3.30 portions daily for attractiveness.

Carotenoids are the phytochemicals that provide the bright red, orange or yellow coloration to many fruit and vegetables. They serve as antioxidants and can be a good source of vitamin A activity. They have been shown in previous research to protect against cardiovascular disease, some cancers and macular eye disease. Their beneficial actions are optimal when a variety of caroteniods are consumed together.

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