Fruits, Vegetables Could Be The Key to Attractiveness: Study
If you need another reason to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, try this: they make you more attractive to other people. A recent study published in Behavioral Ecology suggested that a diet of carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables can make individuals look more appealing by enhancing their skin color.
According to a report by study author Yong Zhi Foo in the Oxford University Press, carotenoids are yellow, orange and red pigments that are responsible for the different hues of fruits and vegetables, such as the redness of tomatoes. When they're consumed, carotenoids produce bright hues in animals -- orange patches on guppies or pink feathers of flamingos -- that often play a part in mate selection.
In humans, previous research has shown that yellow and red faces tend to be more attractive to individuals.
To check whether carotenoids in particular play a significant role in human facial appearance and health, researchers conducted an experiment that involved giving men a 12-week dose of either the carotenoid beta-carotene or a placebo. Before and after photographs were taken, and the subjects' skin colors were measured. Then, women were asked to rate the attractiveness of the before and after photographs.
The beta-carotene were confirmed to enhance the yellow or red hues of the face. In relation, the women tended to find the carotenoid supplemented men more attractive.
While the study showed how beta-carotene affects the attractiveness of humans, the carotenoid didn't make a mark in the three measures of health tested by the scientists: immune function, oxidative stress and semen quality.
It's important to remember that all the male participants were young and healthy, so they might not need additional doses of carotenoid to boost their health. Furthermore, the researchers focused on one particular carotenoid called beta-carotene, which might only be beneficial to health when paired with other nutrients.