A new study serves up a fresh idea for your waiting room. Instead of mints, consider serving fresh fruit and vegetables. These healthy snacks may help your patients look, and feel, a whole lot better.

New research published in the online journal PLoS ONE suggests that eating just extra one portion of fruit or vegetables per day can result in healthier and rosier-looking skin. And the more fruits and veggies your patients eat, the rosier their skin tone.

The study included data from 35 college students at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland who completed questionnaires on how often they ate certain foods. On average, students consumed 3.5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Scientists also measured each person’s skin tone at 7 body locations at the beginning of the study as well as at 3 and 6 weeks out. All study participants were Caucasian.

After 6 weeks, there were noticeable increases in skin redness and yellowness in people who ate more fruit and vegetables, the study showed. Exactly what is responsible for the change is not known, but study authors suspect it is the carotenoids. Researchers don’t know if the finding would hold among people who have other skin types and/or among older individuals.

“Increased fruit and vegetable consumption confers measurable and perceptibly beneficial effects on Caucasian skin appearance within 6 week,” the researchers conclude. “This effect could potentially be used as a motivational tool in dietary intervention.

Source: PLoS ONE