15:45 25 May 2010
You don't have to spend a day outside or even hit the sunbeds to get yourself an enviable tan.
New research has discovered that the right fruit and vegetables could also top up your skin tone.
A healthy, golden complexion can be found via eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg.
After just one month, the benefits of a five-a-day has been proven to enhance the colour of pale skin, scientists have said.
Researchers also discovered that most people actually preferred the healthy colour of skin created via the fruit and veg diet as opposed to the suntanned look.
Ian Stephen, of Bristol University, who led the research team said: "We have produced evidence that dietary intake of fruit and vegetables affects skin colour.
"We found people always preferred the golden effect from diet to the darker effect from the sun."
He claims that carotenoids - a class of around 600 different types of pigment found in plants - result in the radiant glow.
For the study, volunteers were put on a diet of five fruit and vegetables every day for at least a month with photos taken before and after. The volunteers were also rated for attractiveness, with the aftershots garnering much higher scores.
The scientists are hoping that the study could be used to back future healthy eating campaigns on behalf of the government, with the beauty argument being more appealing than dry health facts.
Professor David Perrett of St Andrews University stated: "Most people don't know the effect of diet on skin tone. We were very surprised by these results ourselves."
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