There are plenty of things your parents told you when you were little about eating food – mostly that you should eat vegetables because they would make you grow up big and strong or that candy would rot your teeth – and even though most of those adages turned out to be ways to control your eating habits, at least one of them is true.
Because if you eat a whole bunch of carrots, you will actually turn orange.
Carrots, along with cantaloupe and other foods grown in the soil, contain beta-carotene. The orange and red pigments in apricots, mangoes, oranges, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, et al produce an excessive amount of that beta-carotene in our bloodstreams, and it can build up in the ares of our bodies with thicker skin, like our hands, knees, elbows, feet and around our noses.
It can affect people of any skin color, but it is most noticeable in people with lighter skin tones.
Even among people who eat tons of fruits and vegetables, carotenemia isn’t super common. A large carrot has about 6mg of beta-carotene in it, and contains enough Vitamin A to help your body ward off heart disease, as well as promote healthy skin and eye tissue.
You’d have to eat between 120-300 carrots every day for several weeks – and little else – to turn yourself orange.
Eating a variety of vegetables that are chock-full of Vitamin A is a great idea for a well-balanced diet and a healthy body, so definitely don’t avoid them on the off-chance you turn a funny color – according to this 2012 study, there’s a far higher chance that your skin will take on a healthier, normal-toned glow, instead.
Pass the veggies, please!