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6 Autumn Gems That Will Boost Your Memory, Balance Your Blood Sugar, and More

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The best way to get the most out of nature is to take advantage of what’s in season. Here, we’ve picked out some of our favorite fall vegetables that are loaded with health and beauty benefits you’ll love.

Balance blood-sugar with eggplant.

Keeping blood-sugar levels steady can cut fatigue and anxiety by as much as 65 percent — and eggplant can help. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts say plant compounds (caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid) in the purple powerhouse slow sugar absorption in the intestines enough to slash the risk of blood-sugar fluxes by 52 percent.

End aches with kale.

Kale’s lutein and zeaxanthin work to shut down the body’s production of prostaglandins, hormones that trigger pain and inflammation. No wonder Canadian researchers say that eating 1 cup of kale daily can cut the risk of aches and pains by 33 percent, plus trim three days off your recovery time if you’re feeling sore right now.

Firm skin with pumpkin.

Adding 1/4 cup of pumpkin to your daily diet can ward off sagging and wrinkles. Researchers at UCLA explain that the fruit’s rich stores of carotenoids soothe and heal skin to improve tone and texture.

For a savory side, roast 2 cups of peeled, cubed pumpkin with 2 Tbs. of olive oil and 1 Tbs. of sage at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes; toss with pasta and grated Parmesan. Or mix up a sweet treat: Boil 1 cup of diced pumpkin until tender, then mash and stir into scone baking mix. Bake as directed.

Boost memory with cauliflower.

To improve your memory by 28 percent in one week, add cauliflower (raw or cooked) to your daily diet. According to a study in the journal Phytochemistry, compounds in cauliflower (called glucosinolates) raise the brain’s production of memory-boosting neurotransmitters, plus speed the breakdown of cellular wastes that slow brain function.

Get energized with carrots.

Crunching on one cup of carrots can chase away draggy fatigue for up to three hours. That’s the word from Austrian researchers, who say beta carotene (the pigment that gives carrots their orange hue) heightens the ability of liver and muscle cells to convert fat into ATP — the body’s main source of cellular energy.

Lose weight with potatoes.

Enjoying one potato with its skin daily can prevent winter weight gain, British researchers report. Credit goes to a trio of nutrients (vitamin B6, copper, and fiber) that triggers the production of appetite-taming hormones and soothes the hypothalamus — the brain region that fuels hunger.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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