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
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
4150µg per 100 grams
3930µg per 100 grams
Need some recipes? Try these for your optimal golden glow!