Fresh produce skin glow beats a suntan, Aussie research finds

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Fresh produce skin glow beats a suntan, Aussie research finds

As Australians approach the winter months, those looking to achieve a healthy glow to their skin would do well to put away the fake tan and reach for some fresh vegetables instead, according to new research conducted by the University of Newcastle. 

The research has found young Australians believe skin coloration shows better overall health and, importantly, that the glow gained from eating fresh fruit and vegetable produce is considered to be healthier and more appealing than melanin generated by sun exposure.

Participants in the study, which predominantly consisted of women, perceived that facial skin coloration with higher carotenoid content and decreased melanin looked healthier than the other available options when evaluating facial images of young adults.

“This research shows that the carotenoids in fresh vegetables like carrots, sweetpotatoes and leafy greens not only act as an antioxidant and aid in preventing cancer, but also contribute to healthier skin,” Ausveg national communications manager Shaun Lindhe said in a release.

"As part of the study, participants were able to manipulate images of faces to adjust the colouration to make the faces appear as healthy as possible. When participants manipulated the levels of both melanin and carotenoid colouration, they added significantly more carotenoid colouration and removed significantly more melanin."

Carotenoids accumulate in humans through fresh vegetable consumption and contribute to the yellowness of skin in Caucasians, meaning that slightly yellower skin is a mark of greater intake of fruit and vegetables.

Ausveg is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s vegetable and potato growers.

Previous research from Macquarie University published in 2016 found that sweat samples taken from men with higher carotenoid accumulation in their skin smelt more appealing to women, resulting in a scent with more “floral, fruity, sweet and medicinal” qualities.

“Increasing your vegetable consumption can pay dividends across your entire lifestyle, as well as being associated with a huge range of health benefits,” Lindhe said.

“We already know that consuming the recommended amount of daily serves of vegetables has health and nutritional value, and that eating fresh vegetables is a vital part of a balanced diet, but it’s great that research is continuing to find even more benefits to eating veggies.

"So if you want to look great, smell better and feel fantastic, the best way is to eat plenty of fresh vegetables."


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