Eat More Veggies, Appear More Attractive?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A few months ago, I went in for my yearly skin check at my dermatologist. I was seeing a new doctor. He came into the exam room, introduced himself and shook my hand.

He held on to my outstretched hand for a closer look.

"You certainly do like to eat healthy, don't you?" he said.

"Yes, I do," I said, sounding surprised. "How can you tell?" I had had a quick conversation about my work with his nurse and assumed she had mentioned to him.

"Your hands, they're rather orange," he said. "Do you eat lots of carrots?"
I shook my head in affirmation.

"I love vegetables--I'm a cookbook writer and food editor…" I trailed off as he continued his exam and looked at the soles of my feet.

He said that he can tell when people eat a healthy diet with plenty of orange vegetables because the soles of their hands and feet turn slightly orange. I eat a rainbow of vegetables daily, not just orange ones, so it seemed odd to me that my feet and hands would be so yellow!

Disclaimer: I am gullible. If I try to fib I turn bright red and stammer, and I am terrible at making up stories for the purpose of fooling people. This was both a strength and a weakness in my old life as a newspaper reporter.

"Really?" I said incredulously. "Are you serious?"

The doc said he was, but he seemed so jovial that I doubted him.

We continued talking, he finished my exam and, after scolding me for going without sunscreen a couple of times in the Equatorial sun last year in Honduras, told me that I'm all clear for two years. I had a pair of iffy moles removed in the past and a scare from another dermatologist, so I get a bit nervous when I go in to get checked. A healthy diet, plenty of water and exercise, he said, is evident in the skin. Mine is healthy, despite its alabaster hue and propensity to burning.

I forgot all about that avuncular physician's mention of my orange skin, until I read a recent blog post on NPR's The Salt: The Secret To Glowing (Yellow) Skin? Eat Your Fruits And Veggies

Feet are so yellow that my hands look red in this photo! In real life, they look almost as yellow as my feet. And by the way, it's difficult to photograph both the palms and soles at the same time!

Go to that blog to read the details of the study, which is admittedly small and limited to Caucasians in Scotland. Two interesting take-aways: Subjects who ate more veggies (especially orange ones) had a slightly more yellowish hue to their skin than those who subsisted on pizza and fries. When people were shown photos that had been subtly altered to make the models appear a bit more yellow, they were rated as healthier and more attractive than those in the photos that were not altered.
Interesting, right? 

The study participants weren't eating pounds and pounds of veggies each day. Those who noticed the most significang difference ate an additional one to three servings of vegetables daily. (That's 1/2 cup cooked or raw veggies or 1 cup leafy greens.)

I've had yoga students (a teenage boy) comment on how yellow my feet are, but I can tell you no one was interpreting that yellow hue as being more attractive! Ah, the weirdness of the human body.

Let this study be yet another reason to get more fruit and veggies into your daily meals--half your plate at every meal, according to I aim for 8-10 servings a day, but I often eat more than that.

Have you noticed that your skin glows or looks healthier when you eat more veggies? Does your skin have a yellowish undertone to it?

Knowing that eating more veggies could influence your appearance, would this influence your eating habits?

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I too noticed a yellow tint to my skin but thought that it might be my liver going bad. Good to know that it is not jaundice or any other thing but eating my veggies.LOL Report
I definitely have more glowing skin when I eat healthier, but never noticed yellowness... Report
I eat frozen veggies except salid, What do ou think? Report
I am a vegetarian and have been for a long time and there have been people who take one look at me and tell me that I am a vegetarian. They can see it in my skin. Report
First I've gotta say "WOW!" There are some really negative people out there. I cannot believe the things people think it's OK to say anymore. Absolutely NO manners at all! You know, sometimes I think little snarky comments to myself, but I keep them to myself!!! Didn't everyone grow up watching Thumper's admonition in the Bambi movie? "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!"

Now, on to my own comment. I did a 5-day juice fast back in December, and my skin looked AMAZING!!! I looked all shiny and glowing, and like I had the most amazing tan in the middle of the winter! And I had NOT spent any time in the sun! My hair was also exceptionally cooperative, which doesn't make any sense to me, as our hair is supposed to be dead skin cells, so it shouldn't be affected that quickly! Remembering makes me want to do another fast again soon! Report
Had a friend who ate so many carrots his skin turned orange. Wasn't very attractive.

I also agree with SHADOZA: yellow skin color can also be an indication of serious health issues, so best to check with your doctor before assuming it's from your diet. Report
I like Juice. Report
My skin has always had a yellowish tone to it but I figured it was genetics.. I do love my veggies though and usually get 6 to 10 servings a day. Report
I found this out over the summer when my neighbor commented on how orange my hands were. I was confused since I didn't use self tanner but thanks to google I figured it out. Haha Report
I can't believe a cookbook author working for a nutrition site didn't know this. A little horrifying. Report
Carotenemia can be aassociated with hypothyroidism and diabetes mellitus. It is better to check with your own health care provider if your coloring is a concern.

I used to eat carrots the day long as a child; I had orange skin about my mouth and nose. Report
This is mentioned in the film, :Hungry for Change" by Food Matters. The skin is the organ furthest from our centre and the last to indicate our health so when it's glowing, we are truly in good health. It's also what makes us attractive to one another.
I say good on the author for going w/o sun screen in the middle of the day - best way to get your vitamin D! Just don't get burnt. Report
I have noticed that my skin is improving since I changed my diet in December. I have a more pure tone, less splotches and dark spots. I love my fruits and vegies. Report
What we did notice when I got my perm this week,was that I had more hair than usual & it was healthierthan it had been in the past. I'm a little sunburned today. Report
Noticed this with all my children when I started feeding them solids. They all loved sweet potatoes & carrots so their skin had an yellow orange tint. Report
i did notice a healthier skin tone with bunches of fruits and veggies.. reading this article makes me wanna eat more of them though! Report
Although I eat tons of fruits and vegetables, I notice I *really* glow when I juice them. I was also blessed with good skin genes. I am 54 with nary a wrinkle. I have people in their twenties and thirties, who find out how old I am ask me how I keep my skin so nice. Fresh fruits and veggies, especially juicing them, I tell them. And for skin care? I just use either liquid baby soap, or Dove. I have tried the expensive products for "older" skin. All they did was turn my skin red and peely.

Also, what is really scary is that twice I have met people, and looking at their skin, I notice how opaque and grayish and thought to myself that really doesn't look good. And... within a couple months, each one of those people found out they had cancer--one breast cancer, one lung cancer. Just wondering if skin color/tone was used to assist in diagnosing illnesses? Report
Yes ! I noticed a big improvement in my skin when I started eating better. Of course, eating better meant eating more fresh fruit and veggies. I've always been a big believer that good health starts from the inside out i.e. when your insides are healthy, that reflects on your outsides.

Not only is my skin much improved, I think my nails and hair have improved too. Both seem much stronger and healthier.

Gotta love a healthy diet loaded with fresh veggies ! Report
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