(HealthDay News) – Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a beneficial effect on skin coloration and perceived attractiveness.

To determine the effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on skin color, Ross D. Whitehead, and colleagues at the University of St. Andrews in Fife, UK, conducted a longitudinal study of 35 people (primarily Caucasian; mean age, 18.9 years) who didn’t wear makeup or use self-tanning agents and avoided ultraviolet exposure. At baseline and at three and six weeks, diet and skin-color were recorded. Psychophysical methods were used to investigate the minimum color change necessary to confer healthier and more attractive skin-coloration.

At six weeks, the researchers observed a significant correlation between changes in fruit and vegetable consumption and changes in skin redness and yellowness. The diet-linked skin changes were associated with the spectral absorption of carotenoids, rather than melanin. Psychophysical data indicated that modest dietary changes improved apparent health (2.91 portions per day) and attractiveness (3.3 portions per day).

“Increased fruit and vegetable consumption confers measurable and perceptibly beneficial effects on Caucasian skin appearance within six weeks,” the authors write. “This effect could potentially be used as a motivational tool in dietary intervention.”

The study was funded by Unilever Research and Development USA.

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