Personally, I feel healthier when I eat my dark leafy greens, and it’s a priority for me to feed them to my son. He gets his fair share of chard and kale.
But studies have suggested a link between internal health and the glow we give off externally, too.
Here’s a new piece of evidence to strengthen this link. A study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior finds that a nutrient in certain fruits, dark leafy greens, and root vegetables makes people more attractive, with healthier skin tones.
The researchers gave participants a set of photographs of people’s faces, and let them choose the hue that was most appealing and made the person look healthiest. The choices were suntanned, normal, and the color skin people have after eating extra helpings of carotenoid-rich veggies. Here’s what happened:
The subjects overwhelmingly chose the faces that resulted from a carotenoid-rich diet over normal or suntanned faces.
We always think of the “healthy glow” from the sun, but it seems the sun can’t compete with greens. When people eat a lot of vegetables with carotenoids (in this case, 5 helpings a day for 2 months), their skin takes on more of a yellow tone.
Yellow tones signal health. And to me it makes sense that veggie-rich and most-attractive would line up, because the diet that resembles our hunter gatherer days is probably the most healthy. And when choosing a mate, it makes sense to go for health.
Of course I wouldn’t head to the farmer’s market for your beauty — the external glow is only a sign of the body’s health. Foods rich in carotenoids are healthy for the whole family – the researchers suggest 5 helpings a day, but for kids, 3 seems more reasonable. In addition to roaming the veggie stalls at the market and talking about what they all look and taste like, I like to talk to my son about the power and energy certain foods are giving him, because he’s so enthusiastic about “growing bigger.” Carotenoid veggies would fall in that category.
Here’s a list of fruits and veggies that will make you glow, and grow bigger, of course:
Carrots, citrus fruit, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, swish chard, bell peppers, cantaloupe, spinach, beet tops, and kale.
Do you have any more to add to the list?