Three servings a day may lead to rosier complexion.


Here’s a simple way to get healthier-looking skin: eat more fruits and vegetables.

A study published in the Journal PLoS One found that light-skinned people who ate fruits and vegetables daily for six weeks had rosier, healthier-looking complexions. Researchers say the carotenoid content in the food may be responsible, and that red and yellow pigments in fruits and vegetables may be distributed to the skin’s surface when we consume them.

   Dermatologist Dr. Robin Travers isn’t surprised. “Caratenoids are well-known contributors to skin pigmentation,” she says. “Consumption of fruits and vegetables has been well-described to influence carotenoid pigmentation.”

How Carotenoids Work 

Carotenoids play a role in normal skin pigmentation and may offer a photo protective benefit, reducing ultraviolet sensitivity. In other works, they function as a mild sunscreen.

Carotenoids also work as antioxidants in the body, removing free radicals from cells.

“In the skin, this role may be important as a means of reducing oxidative stress in response to UV radiation. This type of oxidative stress contributes to photo-aging of the skin, so carotenoids are considered by some to be nutraceuticals, or foods that offer health benefit,” explains dr. Travers. While the exact mechanism by which fruits and vegetables affect skin is still unknown, dr. Travers say data increasingly suggest that consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables is important in maintaining our overall health.

   Foods high in carotenoids include carrots, tomatoes, mangoes.

Don’t Overdo ItIMG_0457

“Higher consumption of carotenoids can produce a more pronounced yellowish-orange appearance,” says Dr. Travers. “This is more commonly seen among children because of the translucency of their skin. It is difficult for adult patients to consume enough carotenoids to really turn all that orange. That being said, I can always tell which of my patients is a high consumer of lots of fruits and veggies in a full skin exam. Their palms are decidedly more orange.”

(Harvard Health Letter – Harvard Medical School Vol. 37 Number 9/ July 2012)

NOTE: Other good sources of carotenoids are: papaya, sweet potatoes, green and yellow fruits and vegetables, apricots, asparagus, beet greens, garlic, kale, peaches, pumpkin, collards, peppers, spinach, watercress, parsley, fish liver oils, animal livers. A plant based diet better promotes overall health. Organic best. Caution! An excess of carrot juice or any carotenoid juices may lead to jaundice of the liver; and serious consequences-even death.  Dr. John S. Theodorou

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