If you need another motivational tool to inspire you to eat your five a day, look no further. Scientists at St Andrews University, Scotland have found that consuming 3.3 portions per day of fruit and vegetables containing high levels of carotenoids for six weeks increases attractiveness.
Carotenoids are pigments commonly found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables such as carrots, peppers and tomatoes and their antioxidant properties are well documented. However, carotenoids can accrue in the skin and their accumulation imparts colour of a yellowish tone, which is perceived as more attractive. When participants are able to digitally manipulate the skin colour of Asian, African and Caucasian face stimuli to their liking, yellowness is consistently increased both for the participants own ethnicity and other ethnicity faces.
At the end of the six week study individual differences in carotenoid consumption caused noticeable variation in skin tone, which was measured using spectral reflectance analysis. The minimum colour change needed for more attractive skin colouration can be achieved by eating less than four portions a day of carotenoid loaded fruit and vegetables. Looks like the beauty counters are going to be losing business to the greengrocers!