Foods to Eat to Get a Great Tan and Stay Sun Safe


Are carrots the best food to get a nice, golden tan?

Are fresh tomatoes the best remedy for sunburn?

Let’s talk about tanning safely and nourishing our skin with the right foods to get a nice glow from within.

24-Carrot Golden Tan

Is it true that eating carrots will help you achieve a golden tan? According to studies, yes. From published research, it has been found that carotenoid-rich foods like spinach, melons, apricots, carrots, red peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and tomatoes have a protective function for the skin and they can even subtly change the skin’s colour.

Fear not as you won’t turn bright orange eating tons of carrots: it would be near impossible to ingest a huge quantity of foods to achieve a significant change in skin pigmentation.

What is possible, instead, is to eat a variety of foods containing carotenoids to achieve a slight change in skin pigmentation similar to a short exposure to the sun. According to a 2011 University of Nottingham study, daily consumption of fruit and vegetables rich in carotenoids resulted in a slight change in skin pigmentation similar to mild tanning. The study established that those who ate several portions of fruit and vegetables rich in carotenoids each day showed a healthier complexion.

Research into sunburn has also revealed that eating the right types of foods can prevent skin irritation and damage from sun exposure. Skin melanoma is on the increase: the Northern California Cancer Center published a report in 2004 showing a 5% increase year on year in melanoma in the US. Malignant melanoma is the 5th most common cancer in the UK (2011); in Europe melanoma has increased by 57% in men and 39% in women since 2000.

Foods can help protect and repair skin from damage – alongside the foods rich in carotenoids, it is worth increasing the intake of Omega 3-rich foods (from fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, nuts) and antioxidants (berries, kidney beans, apples, artichokes). 

Related article: sun damage protection – let’s all learn from Hugh Jackman.