Forget the tanning bed; eat more vegetables! Research published in the journal Evolution & Human Behavior found that people who eat more portions of fruit and vegetables per day have a more golden skin color. How? It’s the carotenoids, the nutrient responsible for giving fruits and vegetables, like carrots and tomatoes, their orangeish-reddish hues. Carotenoids also function as an antioxidant that soaks up damaging compounds produced by stress, whether it’s caused by an intense workout or fighting off illness.
Plus, the “veggie” tan might just be more aesthetically pleasing than a suntan. “We found that, given the choice between skin color caused by suntan and skin color caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin color,” said lead researcher Ian Stephen, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nottingham, Malaysia. “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.”