For Teens Only: Good Looks Start Here

Researchers continue to measure the link between eating fruits and veggies and how great you look. We shared all the details on what you need to eat to reveal more attractive skin in our post For Teens Only: Super Foods for Healthy Looking Skin.

Another study shows that adding fruits and veggies to your daily plate not only gives your skin a healthy looking glow, but people think it’s a better look than what you would get from tanning.

The study

In this study, the university researchers set out to compare the difference in attractiveness between skin color that would result from eating fruits and vegetables – a more reddish, yellow glow – and skin color that results from tanning.

They took color-calibrated facial photos of 30 young men and women (20 years old, on average). They made over 440 copies of each photo adjusting the skin tone and lightness in increments to match what would occur as you increase the intake of fruits and vegetables and what would occur with increased tanning. As a result, they had hundreds of images of the same face with ever so slightly different shades of skin color.

Next, the researchers showed the original photos to another group of young adults using a computer program that showed only one skin tone version at once. The participants were asked to “make the face look as healthy as possible,” by using the mouse to move a skin tone slider associated with eating fruits and veggies and a separate skin tone slider associated with tanning. The results are published in the December 2012 issue of Evolutionary Psychology.

The results

Just what type of skin tones made the “you look great” cut? Turns out, the participants were significantly more likely to increase skin tones associated with eating fruits and vegetables than those associated with tanning.

The bottom line

Skin color associated with eating more fruits and veggies, especially those rich in carotenoids, is not only perceived by others as healthy, but also healthier looking than what you get from tanning, a habit that can increase your risk of skin cancer.

Nutrition Nugget

Upping your intake of carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables may be easier than you think. Try a pink grapefruit at breakfast, crunchy carrots at lunch, a sweet apricot or two for an afternoon snack, or a serving of steamed broccoli at dinner. It all adds up to looking good!

Here’s to healthy … and healthy looking … skin!

Kathleen Dunn, MPH, RD
Co-author of Eating for A’s

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PS – Teens, we’re here to help you on your quest to be the best you. If you have any questions or need additional information, just drop us a note and join us on Facebook. Take it one day at a time. Soon you’ll reach your goal.  Work hard, play hard, study hard, and have fun! Good luck, the EatingFor Team is cheering you on!