Get an attractive, healthy glow without setting foot in the sun

There are a million worthwhile reasons to eat a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables…

Eating more fruits and veggies lowers your risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer, among other diseases. It also improves your mood, gives you more energy and helps you live longer.

These are by far the best reasons to eat healthier. But it doesn’t hurt that a healthy vegetable-filled diet also makes you more attractive…

And I’m not just talking about losing weight. Sure, packing in the produce in place of refined carbs helps you fit into those skinny jeans better, but it does something else that turns heads…

It gives you that healthy glow millions of people try to achieve by going to tanning salons or spending hours in the sun.

Except, according to the latest research, the healthy glow from a veggie-filled diet makes you even MORE attractive than tanning… without frying your skin.

Getting a tan from your tomatoes

A 2011 study from researchers at the University of Nottingham in the UK found that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (especially those that contain carotenoids) increases the yellow pigment in your skin in a way that makes you look healthier and more attractive.

Carotenoids are antioxidants that give color to red and orange fruits and vegetables. And if you eat enough, they give your skin color too. But according to this study, the healthy glow you get from carotenoids makes people think you’re better-looking than the glow you get from sunbathing… without dangers like skin cancer.

“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,” said lead researcher Dr. Ian Stephen.

A 2014 investigation from researchers at Leeds University and the University of St. Andrews came to a similar conclusion.

These researchers took facial images and tweaked them to look either sun-tanned or colored through carotenoids. They showed these images to several groups of people, and 76 to 86 percent of these people thought that the carotenoid coloring was more attractive.

So pack those carrots, sweet potatoes and tomatoes on your plate if you want an attractive, healthy glow all yearlong…

A common-sense approach to carotenoids

You’ve probably heard horror stories about people who go overboard on carrots or carrot juice and turn themselves orange. And this can actually happen. It’s called carotenemia. So stay sensible with your carotenoid-intake. You want a healthy glow, but you don’t want to look like an Oompa Loompa.

Of course, you’d have to eat a lot of carrots or other carotenoid-filled foods to turn yourself orange. The recommended daily dosage of beta-carotene, the carotenoid that causes carotenemia, is six to eight milligrams per day. People who develop carotenemia ate as much as 20 milligrams of beta-carotene per day for a while before they started turning orange. That’s the equivalent of eating three very large carrots a day.

So take a common-sense approach to carotenoids. Eat just enough to give you a healthy glow, without making it look like you bathed in Cheetos. Here are some of the foods you can eat to get that enviable glow:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Squashes
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens
  • Beet greens
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Cantaloupe
  • Red cayenne peppers
  • Sour cherries
  • Mangoes
  • Persimmons
  • Papayas
  • Apricots

And eating carotenoid-filled foods has one more benefit besides a glowing complexion. A 2017 study showed that men who ate a diet filled with fruits and vegetables (especially those that contain carotenoids) had more pleasant smelling sweat. So eat up if you want to look and smell better!


  1. Top 10 Reasons to Eat More Fruit and Vegetables — Fruits & Veggies–More Matters. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  2. Eating vegetables gives skin a more healthy glow than the sun, study shows — ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  3. Stephen, et al. “Carotenoid and melanin pigment coloration affect perceived human health.” — Evolution & Human Behavior. May 2011; 32(3): 216–227.
  4. E. Lefevre and D.I. Perrett. “Fruit over sunbed: Carotenoid skin colouration is found more attractive than melanin colouration.” — The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2015; 68(2):284-293.
  5. Eat your fruits, vegetables for skin with sun-kissed glow — ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  6. Turns Out Eating Too Many Carrots Really Can Turn Your Skin Orange — Huffington Post. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  7. Foods High in Beta Carotene — San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  8. Zuniga, et al. “Diet quality and the attractiveness of male body odor.” — Evolution & Human Behavior. January 2017; 38(1): 136–143.


Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and