For people with arthritis, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is key to overall health. Now, new research suggests fruits and veggies may not only help you feel good, but also help you look good, producing a healthy glow that is safer than a suntan for many taking immunosuppressant medications and certain conditions, such as lupus.

"We found that the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the more golden and yellower your skin color," says study head Ian Stephen, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus.

"And secondly, we found that people think this golden skin color is more attractive than a suntan."

In the first part of the study, 82 people filled out detailed questionnaires asking what foods they ate and how often they ate them. The more fruits and veggies they ate a day, the yellower their skin, according to the study in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

Then, the researchers used an instrument called a spectrophotometer that can distinguish between different pigments and chemicals in the body based on how much ultraviolet light they absorb.

Results showed that people with more golden skin had higher levels of carotenoids, antioxidants that soak up damaging compounds produced by the body, especially when it is combating disease, Stephen says. Yellow and red peppers, tomatoes, carrots, apricots and melons are all rich in caretonoids.