In a recent study, a group of Caucasian and East Asian people began eating three servings a day of fruits and vegetables. At the end of the study period, they were rated as healthier looking and more attractive than before the study began. Scientists say that this is because a group of antioxidants called carotenoids collect in the skin over time when we eat foods that contain them. Carotenoids can actually add visible color to the skin. Vegetables like carrots contribute yellow carotenoids, while red bell peppers and tomatoes add rosy red coloring.
Scientists said that people with deeper skin tones would probably have a have a similar benefit, but they would need to consume more fruits and veggies to acquire enough carotenoids to make a visible difference due to other pigments in the skin.
The researchers theorized that this rosy skin color is one thing we as humans might look for and find attractive in potential mates. According to some of the more primitive parts of our brains, attractiveness equals health which equals fertility. A healthy, fertile mate has collected a bunch of these pigments from plentiful food, but has also retained them instead of using them up to fight illness or stress.
If carotenoids are indeed a signal to potential mates that we are desireable, we share this strategy with many other animals on the planet. Many colorful animals, such as brightly colored birds and reptiles, collect carotenoids from their food supply and display them on their feathers, scales, or other parts. The more colorful you are the better looking you may be to your fellow organisms.
You can also find the whole range of important carotenoids in supplement form.
PLOS One 2012[hr]
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Research and nutritional information included is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease and should not be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician before initiating any new dietary or supplement program. References available by request.