It’s something we’ve heard before and already know…eating your fruits and vegetables on the daily will help keep you young and protect your body from disease. Well, it’s true and here are some key scientific findings to drive the point home because most of us are still not paying attention and making diet a priority. Adults in the US [and Canada] consume less than 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day  and that is just not enough!
A study done by Whitehead et al. from PLoS ONE looked at how carotenoid-based coloration contributes to improved skin appearance and coloration in a sample of 35 individuals during a 6-week period. They found that there was a significantly measurable change in skin colour and overall health appearance in all individuals. They also noted that this well observed skin health is a strong sexually selected cue of condition in other species, which may also play a role in human mate selection .
At the microscopic level, carotenoids are yellow-red organic pigments that are plentiful in fruits and vegetables (think carrots). These are bioavailable phytonutrients that are “efficient singlet oxygen quenchers”  that protect our tissues against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is understood to cause damage to protein, lipid, and DNA structures leading to disease and tissue aging. Making the effort to consume high amounts of fresh organic fruits and vegetables each day goes a long way at preventing disease, aging, and giving us a more attractive appearance! Carotenoids are bioavailable and they flood all layers of the skin, which literally shield the tissue layers against internal metabolic stress as well as external oxidative stress from UV radiation and day-to-day pollutants .
As your mother said when you were a young child, consume your vegetables and fruits! Eat them. Juice them. Blend them. Make it a priority because you’ve got one life to live so make it a super healthy one!
1. Guenther PM, Dodd KW, Reedy J, Krebs-Smith SM (2006) Most Americans eat much less than recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 106: 1371–1379.
2. Whitehead RD, Re D, Xiao D, Ozakinci G, Perrett DI (2012) You Are What You Eat: Within-Subject Increases in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Confer Beneficial Skin-Color Changes. PLoS ONE 7(3): e32988. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032988.
3. Sies H (1993) Strategies of Antioxidant Defense. European Journal of Biochemistry 215: 213–219.
4. Lee R, Mathews-Roth MM, Pathak MA, Parrish JA (1975) The detection of carotenoid pigments in human skin. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 64: 175–177.
5. Lademann J, Meinke MC, Sterry W, Darvin ME (2011) Carotenoids in human skin. Experimental Dermatology 20(5): 377–82.
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