The vernacular of today's beauty buzz is riddled with words and phrases about staying young, but the idea of "carotenoid coloration" means little to most people, although it's exactly what you're probably looking for.
It's that sexy, healthy glow that comes from eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day and an innovative study says it has a more powerful effect on attractiveness than a sun tan, also called "melanin coloration."
"Skin coloration can arise as a result of two distinct processes: Through tanning (melanisation) or the assimilation of fruit and vegetables (carotenoid ingestion)," say the researchers, who conducted three separate internet studies comparing people's responses to the aforementioned.
In the first two studies, researchers worked with a group of 60 participants who were shown 27 composite faces whose skin tones spanned the axis of carotenoid or melanin-associated derma colors.
Participants were shown high- and low-pigment versions of each face and asked to say which one they found more attractive, and results indicated an overwhelming preference for strong color values.
In the first study, 86 percent of participants preferred the look of the high-carotenoid face and 78.5 percent preferred the high melanin version in the second study.
The third study pitted carotenoid against melanin and resulted in a 75.9 percent preference for high carotenoid coloration.
The study, which was published in the journal Taylor & Francis, expands on findings about carotenoid coloration that came to light in a 2011 study by the University of Nottingham.