Think a tan makes you gives you a healthy glow? Fruit and vegetables do it better. Researchers in the UK have found that rosy cheeks and a slightly yellowish skin tone achieved by a diet high in fruit and vegetables is deemed more attractive than a darker, tanned complexion.
Researchers from Bristol and St Andrews universities UK asked 54 Caucasian participants to manipulate the skin tone of 51 male and female images, using specialist software to make them appear the healthiest and most attractive, the UK's Daily Telegraph reported.
Rather than increase the pigment in the faces to achieve a tanned complexion, participants made the skin lighter and more yellow, with rosier cheeks to make the faces appear healthier.
The researchers believe that preference for a yellowed tone might be explained by the "carotenoid pigments" from the fruit and vegetables we eat, which and are powerful antioxidants, while a slightly flushed look suggests a strong heart and lungs.
"This discovery is very exciting and has given us a promising lead into cues to health," said Professor David Perrett, head of the perception lab at the University of St Andrews.
"What we eat and not just how much we eat appears to be important for a healthy appearance. The only natural way in which we can make our skin lighter and more yellow is to eat a more healthy diet high in fruit and vegetables,"
The research is published in the International Journal of Primatology.
Besides adding a glowing complexion, fruit and vegetables are also a vital source of vitamins in minerals in the diet and can help prevent diseases such as coronary heart disease, some forms of cancer, obesity and can help control diabetes.