Beauty benefit: Give your skin a radiant, sun-kissed glow
Eating more carotenoids—orange and yellow pigments found in carrots and other foods, including red and yellow peppers, spinach and other dark leafy greens—can create an au naturel tan, suggests a study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. "Carotenoids are thought to be stored in the fat under the skin, and are also secreted through the pores, where they are then absorbed back into the top layer of the skin, giving it a golden color," explains study author Ian Stephen, Ph.D., now at the University of Nottingham. If you already eat five portions of fruits and vegetables, though, adding another five (or loading up on only carrots) won’t necessarily give you a more radiant flush. It may, in fact, make you too yellow or orange, warns Stephen.
Health benefit: Improve your memory
Carrots also contain luteolin, a flavonoid believed to reduce inflammation that can lead to cognitive decline. In a 2010 The Journal of Nutrition study, mice that ate a diet that included luteolin had better spatial memory (e.g., how quickly they found a platform in a water maze) and less inflammation than mice that didn’t get any luteolin. Luteolin is found in bell peppers, celery, rosemary and thyme.
Related: Easy Carrot Recipes
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