A tan may be the perfect base for your bikini, but achieving that bronzed summer glow is not always easy — or safe. There are a slew of sunless tanning possibilities, from DIY lotions to custom airbrushing. Of course, there’s always the bad choices: tanning beds (don’t do this!) or just outdoor sunbathing (also not so good for you!). With sun-tanning being such a health risk, we set out to find out how to tan from the inside out. You know that scene from Willy Wonka where Violet turns ... violet? Roald Dahl was onto something.

Turns out you can tan from the inside with something called carotenoids. Carrot-what? Ca·rot·en·oids, a family of pigments found in produce can actually change skin tone when eaten regularly. In other words, if you eat enough of these foods for long enough, you can actually eat your way to tanner skin.  

Yeah, we were a little skeptical too, so we reached out to Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach Kelly LeVeque for the deets.

“Carotenoids are found in colorful spices, yellow-orange fruits and dark green veggies. They not only improve skin color, but many of them convert to beta-carotene, a strong antioxidant that reduces wrinkles and damage caused by UV light, pollutants and other environmental hazards,” LeVeque explained. “Eating 90 to 180 milligrams of beta-carotene a day can help give your skin a golden radiance.”

Carotenoid-rich foods also happen to be high on the healthy scale, so they won’t hurt your waistline. Slim down, fight signs of aging, and get tan? We’re in!

To help us get glowing, Kelly provided us with a list of foods super high in beta-carotene, along with some yummy ways to add them to our diet.

10 Foods That Make Skin Glow


Spices (Paprika, Cayenne, Chili)­­

26162µg per 100 grams


Sweet Potato (Baked)

11509µg per 100 grams


Kale (Frozen, Cooked)

8823µg per 100 grams


Carrots (Cooked)

8332µg per 100 grams


Cos or Romaine Lettuce

5226µg per 100 grams



5054µg per 100 grams


Dried Herbs (Marjoram, Sage, Coriander)

4806µg per 100 grams


Butternut Squash (Cooked)

4570µg per 100 grams


Garden Cress

4150µg per 100 grams


Cilantro (Coriander)

3930µg per 100 grams

Need some recipes? Try these for your optimal golden glow!