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Let’s face it. There’s nothing better than achieving that perfect summer glow. Whether you spend hours at the beach or lounging in the park, you’re aiming for that summer bronze hue and will do anything to get the perfect shade.

Now, what if we told you that you could eat your way to the perfect tan? That’s right — no sun, no tanning beds, no self-tanner lotions. Instead, think fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, and hazelnuts. Not your typical tanning regimen, we know. But the idea of “tanning” while simultaneously fighting cancer and heart disease is pretty sweet.

Foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash contain high amounts of beta carotene — a strongly colored red-orange pigment that is converted by the human body into vitamin A. Vitamin A is critical for healthy skin, nails and immune health, and for achieving that summer glow. Not only do these foods speed up your tanning process, but they also decrease your risk of certain cancers, cognitive decline, and heart disease. Now you may be wondering how these foods help you appear tanner and healthier.

According to Shape, “They improve your skin’s color. When you eat a lot of carotenoid-rich produce (think carrots and plums), many of those excess carotenoids are stored in the fat just beneath your skin, where their pigments peek through and give you a healthy glow that mimics a tan. In addition, they prevent wrinkles by crushing free radicals that damage your skin after you’ve spent too much time in the sun.”

Now, don’t convince yourself that only orange fruits and vegetables can help your tan. Believe it or not, dark, leafy greens are known for their tan-enhancing abilities, too. They contain large quantities of beta carotene, and are known for their pigment-enhancing capabilities. So incorporate more kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce into your diet for a summer glow, and a healthier lifestyle in general.

So whether you’re a fan of carrots or ketchup (yeah, we said ketchup), we’ve compiled a list of ten foods that are known for their tan-enhancing abilities.

So this summer, spend less time in the tanning bed and more time in the kitchen. Your body will thank you for it.

  • 1. Sweet Potatoes

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    These fleshy orange vegetables are packed with vitamin A. Not only will they increase your chances of tanning, but they also act as an anti-inflammatory, regulate blood sugar, and have been noted for antibacterial properties. Sweet.

  • 2. Carrots

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    Carrots are packed with beta carotene and are known for their pigment-enhancing abilities. Plus, they’re also known for their cardiovascular benefits and are critical for vision health.

  • 3. Eggs

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    Eggs have superpowers. Filled with vitamin A, folate, vitamin B, selenium, calcium, vitamin D… the list is never ending. Their high vitamin content will help with your summer glow, while fighting cardiovascular disease and improving eye health. A win-win situation.

  • 4. Butternut Squash

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    Packed with carotenoids, beta carotene and vitamin C — this squash is not only delicious, but a sure way to improve skin and bone health. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s been noted as an anti-inflammatory agent and immune system booster.

  • 5. Lemons

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    Lemons contain high amounts of vitamin A which increases melanin within the body. Melanin is a natural substance that gives color to the skin. Therefore, lemons should be utilized in your quest for the perfect summer glow.

    See more foods that to help you get your tan on naturally.

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