SYDNEY, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Eating enough fruit and vegetables could be the secret to having attractive skin, according to a study released on Friday by researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia.
The researchers investigated how young Australians viewed faces in terms of attractiveness, by being able to adjust settings to create the most attractive version of different faces, based on levels of melanin (tanning), or carotenoid coloration which occurs when you consume fruits and vegetables.
The author of the report, Dr Kristine Pezdirc, told Xinhua on Friday that the participants were given facial images to look at on computer screens, and then were allowed to adjust the axis to where they thought the image looked as "healthy as possible."
"They had three different experiments where they would look at the melanin axis, then they would look at the carotenoid axis, and then in the last experiment they were both combined, so that is where we got the result of seeing that they prefered the carotenoid to the melanin," Pezdirc said.
"They weren't told what was actually happening, they were just told can you change the screen to where you think they would look as healthy as possible."
Fruit and vegetables contain certain pigments in them which according to Pezdirc, get absorbed by your skin when you are eating healthy amounts of them.
"If you eat a lot of carrots, or other orange fruits, your skin color can actually change in hue, the carotenoid in the actual pigmentation that changes the skin color when you are eating these fruits and vegetables," Pezdirc said.
Pezdirc has conducted a wide variety of studies dealing with the pigmentation changes that occur when different foods are consumed, and uses a device called a spectrophotometer to measure the changes in skin color, but this was the first time outside participants were brought in to give a subjective view about what "looks good."
The researcher hopes that the results will influence young people to eat more fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet, as research shows they currently aren't eating enough.
"There has also been research to suggest that younger people are all about appearance, are motivated by appearance, and this is the first step in future studies we have planned," Pezdirc said.
"This is the first process, because it is perception. We still need to look further into the intake of fruits and vegetables, and even further into the benefits of eating them; but it is perception about what people think is healthy that is the first step."
General expert consensus worldwide suggests that people should eat at least five servings of vegetables, and two servings of fruit per day, as part of a healthy diet.