London: If you think that it's muscles which attract women to men, you're wrong, for a study says a healthy glowing skin colour is more important to females than a rugged jaw line or masculine features.

In the study, researchers at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus showed a group of women photos of 34 Caucasian and 41 black African men's faces. All the snaps were captured in controlled conditions to measure the skin colour of faces.

They used a computer technique to measure mathematically how masculine faces are. Each face was then given a score. The findings revealed that the women found men more attractive if they had a more "golden" colour skin.

Dr Ian Stephen, who led the team, said "The attractive colour in our face is affected by our health especially by the amount of colourful antioxidant carotenoid pigments we get from fruit and vegetables in our diet.

"They are thought to be good for our immune and reproductive systems, making us healthy and increasing fertility. The masculinity of the face had no effect on the attractiveness of the face."

According to the researchers, when humans find a member of the opposite sex attractive their brains are telling them they are an appropriate mate. In evolutionary terms, people who are recognised as healthy fertile mates will be more successful at having offspring.

Dr Stephen also believes eating your five a day will make you look better than a tan would.

"Our study shows that being healthy may be the best way for men to look attractive. We know you can achieve a more healthy looking skin colour by eating more fruit and vegetables, so that would be a good start," he said.