Want a Tan? Eat Vegetables Instead

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Over and over again, you've heard about the dangers of tanning booths—skin cancer and eye damage, to name just two. But what if you simply can't get the desire for bronze out of your head?  Then, it's time to walk away from the tanning bed...and over to your fridge.

According to the Journal Evolution and Human Behavior, munching on carrots and tomatoes is the best way to get your skin looking sun-kissed. Other skin-friendly vegetables include leafy greens such as spinach, and organically grown produce since these churn out higher levels of antioxidants.

According to Ian Stephen from the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus,, "Most people think the best way to improve skin color is to get a suntan, but our research shows that eating lots of fruit and vegetables is actually more effective."

This is because of a substance found in vegetables called carotenoids. It's an antioxidant that helps soak up damaging compounds produced by the stresses and strains of everyday life. Carotenoids are also responsible for the red coloring found in certain fruits and vegetables. An added benefit is that it promotes the immune and reproductive system.

Dermatologist Amy Wechsler, MD also notes that vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and also phytochemicals, which is a protective plant substance that may benefit humans as well. Additionally, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help replenish your natural antioxidant stores, protect sun-exposed skin, ward off wrinkles, and even cut your risk of skin cancer. The abundance of vitamin C in these foods is also beneficial in the production of collagen. Vitamin C is also an anti-aging agent and minimizes skin thinning and dryness.

If loading up up on veggies feels a bit intimidating, try increasing your intake gradually. In the meantime, opt for sunless tanning products- most do-it-yourself tanners contain a nontoxic sugar called dihydroxyacetone. This way, get the even, glowing skin you want without putting your health in harm's way.

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Eating Vegetables Gives Skin a More Healthy Glow Than the Sun, Study Shows

Interview with New York-based Dermatologist and psychiatrist Dr. Amy Wechsler