Eating two or more servings of carotenoid-rich vegetables gives you a better bronze than the sun, according to recent research.
Just when you thought there was no hope for your winter pastiness, research reveals that that food really can cure all—including a lackluster complexion. According to a new study from the Journal Evolution and Human Behavior, eating two or more servings of vegetables rich in carotenoids—free radical fighting antioxidants found in sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and kale—lends skin a golden, glowing hue. When researchers asked people which complexion they preferred, that of participants who loaded up on veggies or of those who spent time in the sun, guess who came out beaming?
I discovered this study while working on our June skin care feature, which will ironically hit at a time when lack of sun exposure probably isn’t your concern. But this research will be as relevant then as it is now: It’s one of many examples of good nutrition supporting appearance, in addition to health (in fact, research shows that vibrant skin is not surprisingly an indicator of overall vitality). And whether the sun is out or not, we need to be more conscious of the risks of UV rays, which remain the number one culprit behind premature aging. Most skin care experts now recommend avoiding all unprotected exposure—even 15 minutes for vitamin D, which is unpredictable and exposes you to harmful rays—and protecting yourself 365 days a year.
This study, then, presents good news all around/year-round: more nutrient-rich foods, better-looking complexion come winter, less harmful rays come summer, healthier skin—and you—in the long run. Fake n’ bake? Forgettaboutit.
Try recipes featuring these carotenoid-rich ingredients: