In the final part of the study, 70 young men and women were shown 51 faces on a computer screen and told to make them look as healthy as possible by manipulating the amount of carotenoids and other skin pigments. All increased the amount of carotenoids, showing that people prefer the golden, yellow glow produced by fruits and veggies to the look of a suntan, Stephen says.

Fruits and veggies rich in caretonoids and other antioxidants also pack a punch against the inflammation that affects joints, making them swell and turn red and tender, in rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, and other forms of autoimmune arthritis, says Scott Zashin, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.

His own research, while preliminary, also suggests that tart cherries may help to relieve pain in people with fibromyalgia and arthritis.

A diet rich in fruits and veggies has the added bonus of helping people shed pounds and avoid obesity, says Sharon Kolasinski, MD, professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. And obesity has been linked to premature osteoarthritis of the knees and hips, as well as more severe symptoms of RA.

A high-veggie diet is also good for your heart health, which is particularly important for people with RA, who are already at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, Kolasinki says.

So how can you get more fruits and veggies in your diet? The key: Setting realistic goals and planning in advance, say experts. "Have fruit on hand for a snack during the workday," Zashin says.