We love so many things about fall, from the crisp air to the colorful leaves to the fun-filled holidays. But what gets us really excited is all the yummy seasonal produce. Not only are they delicious, these in-season picks will have you feeling your best, too!
According to Yale researchers, a daily 1/2 cup serving of lima beans could help you shed three pounds each month without dieting. The credit goes to the legume’s copper, manganese, and molybdenum — a trio of nutrients that energize fat-burning cellular mitochondria, plus stimulate the digestive tract to produce the appetite-taming hormone cholecystokinin.
Keeping your blood sugar steady slashes the risk of fatigue, blue moods, and anxiety in half — and squash can help. Yale University scientists say this hardy cucurbit is rich in compounds (lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin) that heighten insulin sensitivity and reduce sugar absorption in the intestines, decreasing the risk of blood-sugar flux by as much as 50 percent.
Pumpkins’ vibrant orange hue comes from alpha- and beta-carotene — plant pigments that are also powerful painkillers. Add 1/2 cup of this fall favorite to your daily diet and Canadian scientists say you’ll feel less achy in 10 days, plus you’ll cut your risk of future pain flare-ups by up to 33 percent.
A tasty way to chase away tiredness for 90 minutes? Munch on a few radishes, according to British researchers. The crunchy root veggie’s pungent, peppery bite stimulates the formation of energizing, focus-enhancing beta brain waves and its phenolic compounds improve the ability of brain cells to soak up and burn glucose for fuel.
Enjoying one cup of cauliflower daily can improve recall, focus and concentration by up to 25 percent in two weeks. According to scientists reporting in the journal Phytochemistry, the versatile vegetable is rich in glucosinolates — nutrients that energize the brain’s neurons and speed the breakdown of cellular wastes that slow brain function and accelerate memory decline.
To stay serene even on hectic days, dig into a sweet potato. A one cup serving contains 214 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A and 52 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement. These nutrients calm and heal the adrenal glands-an effect that scientists at Connecticut’s University of Bridgeport say tamps down the production of stress hormones for up to six hours.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.