ASCP Skin Deep

MARCH | APRIL 2015

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Create your free business website! www.ascpskincare.com 5 We are all told from a young age to eat fruits and vegetables to ward off disease. I recall my father telling me to eat my carrots because they would "put hair on my chest." (As a female, I'm not sure why I would want this.) I did eat my carrots, but the good news is I did not grow hair on my chest—instead, I gained a wonderful glow! Years later, I noticed I would receive comments on how tanned I looked when I focused on consuming fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids. People would often ask if I had just returned from vacation. I was curious about these comments and decided to make a concerted effort to consume 5–10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Sure enough, I kept receiving compliments. Color, Health, and Beauty Carotenoid intake provides a warmer tone to any skin color by slightly increasing the amount of red and yellow pigmentation in the skin, and studies have found this makes others perceive us as healthier and more attractive. Adding 2–3 portions of fruits and vegetables per day for six weeks provides enough visible difference for this effect. 1 Of course, too much of a good thing is not a good thing. In excess, carotenoid-rich foods can turn that warm tone to orange—a condition called hypercarotenemia. Motivation for a Healthy Diet The promise of beauty is a major motivator. People who won't give up smoking or tanning when warned of the cancer risk may change their minds when they learn these habits also cause wrinkles. Whatever that says about our priorities, it's true that improving your health results in beautiful skin—a winning situation all around. A study published recently in Health Psychology tested this idea by showing people computer images of what their faces would look like with the color improvement from a carotenoid-rich diet. Participants who were shown the images were more successful at increasing their fruit and vegetable intake over 10 weeks, compared to participants who only received general information about the positive skin effects. 2 Achieving a radiant look in turn motivated more dietary improvement. Eat the Rainbow Since this study came out, there has been some interesting discussion in the health and nutrition community regarding how fruits and vegetables impact skin color and tone. One suggestion is to balance a red skin tone with green foods wellness such as collard greens, kale, and Swiss chard. Another suggestion is to consume red fruits and vegetables—for example, beets, berries, and red peppers—to bring life to pale, sallow skin. Do not be concerned if you don't like carrots. Other fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids include bell peppers, broccoli, melons, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. So, if you once left your veggies on the side of your plate, you may want to start paying attention to them—whether it's for improved health or vanity. After all, it is less time consuming and much safer to eat a healthy diet than to use a tanning bed or sit in the sun for hours. Eat the rainbow of colors in fruits and vegetables and they will provide you with incredible health benefi ts, as well as a wonderful glow. Shelley Burns, a doctor of naturopathic medicine, completed studies at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and has certifi cation in complementary and integrative medicine from Harvard University. She can be reached at the Executive Health Centre at 416-222-5880 or shelley.burns@executivehealthcentre.com. NOTES 1. R. D. Whitehead et al., "You Are What You Eat: Within-Subject Increases in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Confer Benefi cial Skin-Color Changes," PLOS One, March 7, 2012. 2. R. D. Whitehead et al., "A Randomized Controlled Trial of an Appearance-Based Dietary Intervention," Health Psychology 33, no. 1 (January 2014): 99–102. The Glow of Health How fruits and vegetables make it happen by Shelley Burns

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