health benefits of pears - 11 irresistable reasons to eat them

HEALTH BENEFITS OF PEARS

Original publish date: 30/01/2018  |  Updated: 20/08/2018

The health benefits of pears are amazing.

From increased energy levels to keeping unwanted wrinkles at bay, pears have got you covered.

From increased energy levels to keeping unwanted wrinkles at bay, pears have got you covered.

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Yann Martel once wrote, "Slice a pear and you will find that its flesh is incandescent white. It glows with inner light. Those who carry a knife and a pear are never afraid of the dark."
("Beatrice and Virgil")

I bet that quote just made you want to grab a pear and read on. You will love the health benefits of pears we have to share with you!

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First, Some Fun Facts About Pears

health benefits of pears infographic 11.13.47
  • The first written account of pears comes from Sumer in the year 2750 B.C.
  • Pears form part of Greek mythology. Homer, a Greek poet, called pears "the fruit of the gods".
  • The Romans cultivated six varieties of pears in 100 B.C.
  • Pliny (a Roman historian) wrote about 40 pear variants in 200 B.C. He cautioned that "pears are harmful to eat raw, but good boiled with honey." Furthermore, he wrote that, "Falernian pears are the best for making pear wine."
  • Pears grew well in the warm climates of France and Italy during the Middle Ages. It was a luxury because they were (mostly) grown in castle and monastery gardens.
  • The New World saw its first pear tree in 1559. It was an imported White Doyenné pear tree.
  • The Belgians developed pears in the 18th century (up to 400 varieties). Popular modern supermarket varieties, Buerré d'Anjou and Buerré Bosc were among them.
  • Between 1769 and 1814, Thomas Jefferson planted 1000 pear, apple, cherry, plum apricot, and quince trees on his Monticello Estate.
  • The oldest producing pear tree today was planted in 1810 at Mission San Juan Bautista. 
  • Today, there are over 4000 pear tree varieties of which only 30 are edible.

If the history of pears interest you and you would like to indulge yourself in yummy pear recipes, check out The Great Book of Pears by Barbara Jeanne Flores.

So, What is a Pear Good For, Anyway?

health benefits of pears - what are pears good for?

Pears are unique, versatile, and have the most satisfying sweet flavour imaginable.

Their grainy texture (which they have due to stone cells) make for an enjoyable experience when eating them.

They are good for:

  • Snacking.
  •  Adding them to garden salads.
  • Fruits salads.
  • You can use pears in cooking and baking when overripe.

Michael Jessimy from NaturalFoodSeries.com writes:

"Eating pears should be one of life’s mandatory pleasures. I mean, who doesn’t love them? Pears share many taste similarities with apples, although they are arguably a little sweeter and more delicious than apples. Pears are much more than just tasty fruits, however, as they hold serious health benefits and are super nutritious. You’ve likely heard the old adage 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' right? Don’t be surprised if pears replace them in the near future- they are seriously that good for you."

What Are The Benefits of Eating a Pear?

DrAxe.com writes:

"Pears contain special phytonutrients, including anti-inflammatory flavonoids, anticancer polyphenols and anti-aging flavonoids. Studies regarding pear nutrition have linked the fruit’s consumption with lower levels of constipation, kidney stones, high cholesterol and even diabetes.

Pears can help lower inflammation, which is the root of most diseases, plus they’re one of the best sources of dietary fibre of all fruits and provide high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K and boron. In addition, pear nutrition helps reverse copper deficiency and low potassium."

Let's dive into 11 powerful health benefits of pears.

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1. Promotes Weight loss

Pears are low in calories: a medium size pear has a little over 100 calories. 

Thanks to its high fibre content, it makes you feel full even though the calorie count is so low. Eating one pear is equivalent to eating two slices of bread - without the, "maybe I should have just one more slice", or the bloating.

Eating one pear is equivalent to eating two slices of bread - without the, "maybe I should have just one more slice", or the bloating.

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Extensive studies have shown that the more fresh fruits and vegetables we consume, the less likely we are to gain weight. And it helps us keep a balanced, healthy weight. 

2. Improves Digestion

As you're reading this, 70,000,000 people are suffering from a digestive issue. 

Did I mention those 70 million people are just in the USA?

Now you may think having a digestive issue is not that bad. It's not like you're writhing in pain or discomfort just because you don't "go" every single day, right? 

While you may not be in much physical discomfort, keep in mind that the following are consequences of bad digestion:

  • Sleepless nights.
  • Mood swings.
  • Imbalanced hormones.
  • Bad immune system.
  • Increased stress levels.
  • Impaired liver function.
  • Nutrient deficiencies.
  • Fatigue.
  • Poor skin and hair quality.
  • Loss of bone density (and ultimately osteoporosis).

But you can help prevent all that by adequate fibre intake.

health benefits of pears article - gentle fibre

Click on the image for more information (available in South Africa only)


health benefits of pears article - Pro Digestion Intensive
health benefits of pears article - fermented chlorella
health benefits of pears article - organic aloe vera digestion support

Click on the images for more information (available internationally)

Pears are rich in insoluble fibre.

In human language that means they contain the kind of fibre that helps move food through your digestive tract like a breeze. It 'scoops up' the food in your digestive tract, bulks it up, and makes it easy for it to pass through your intestines.

Furthermore, pears contain pectin fibre. It binds to fatty substances in your digestive tract (like cholesterol and toxins) and helps get rid of them.

3. Helps To Prevent Cancer

Apart from helping your body to remove cholesterol, the fibre in pears can help fight cancer. The fibre from pears attach to carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) in the colon and removes them.

On top of that, pears contain glutathione (an incredibly powerful antioxidant) known for preventing cancer, high blood pressure, and strokes. 

Pears make a further contribution to cancer prevention thanks to their high levels of essential nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Those three components make pears an excellent anti-inflammatory food.

The National Institutes of Health and the American Association of Retired Persons conducted a large study, comprising 490,802 participants. In the study, they discovered that pears play a key role in the reduced risk of developing oesophageal cancer.

(Reference: Freedman ND, Park Y, Subar AF et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and esophageal cancer in a large prospective cohort study. Int J Cancer. 2007 Dec 15;121(12):2753-60.)

4. Boosts Your Immunity

Ascorbic acid, better known as "vitamin C" is one of the most powerful nutrients your body needs. It has powerful antioxidant properties that fights free radical damage (which damages the immune system).

A medium size pear contains about 7,7mg of ascorbic acid - 12% of the daily recommended value.

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) promotes white blood cell production and mobilisation, helping you to ward off any unwelcome viruses and bacteria

The pear's anti-inflammatory properties also makes you more resistant to diseases such as the flu and tuberculosis.

Another important immune-boosting property in pears is copper. Copper is an essential trace mineral and helps with:

  • Iron absorption.
  • Energy production.
  • Maintaining healthy bones, blood vessels, and nerves.
  • Prevention of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

5. Promotes Healing

Apart from supercharging your immunity, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) facilitates collagen formation. Collagen is an important structural protein, responsible for healthy joints and skin.

Regularly eating pears will boost your ascorbic acid levels, ensuring adequate collagen production in your body. This means that external wounds will heal fast (which will also reduce the risk of infection).

Your organs will also enjoy increased ascorbic acid levels - new organ tissues will form effortlessly and keep your body functioning properly

FUN FACTS

You get a whole new skin every 2 - 4 weeks.

Your liver could replace itself even if as little as 25% of it remained.

All your red blood cells get replaced every four months.

6. Improves Heart Health

On average, your heart beats no less than 115,200 time a day

I'm sure you would agree that it needs a special something to help take the pressure off. And you guessed it: pears contain that special something - potassium.

Potassium is important for dilating your blood vessels. This reduces the immense pressure on your cardiovascular system to pump blood throughout your body. 

With adequate levels of potassium in your body, it's hard for blood clots to form. Also, it lowers blood pressure. Lowered blood pressure increases blood flow throughout your body and allows all your organs to receive optimal levels of oxygen.

Besides potassium, powerful antioxidants in pears keep your arteries clean and less inflamed (swollen due to irritation).

"But what has all that got to do with my heart?"

Low blood pressure (not too low though!) and cholesterol levels (the bad type) ensures a lower risk of developing heart diseases, heart attacks, and strokes.

7. Good For Baby's Development During Pregnancy

Folate is yet another powerful ingredient the humble pear can boast with.

Folic acid is important for foetal development. It's a member of the vitamin B family and helps prevent common developmental issues such as spina bifida and neural tube disorders. 

Eating pears during a pregnancy can help boost the overall health and development of an unborn baby

Fibre also plays an important role during pregnancy. It prevents pregnancy-related constipation and haemorrhoids.

8. Improves and Promotes Bone Health

The health benefits of pears just keep on getting better.

They even contain essential minerals:

  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Calcium
health benefits of pears - improves and promotes bone health

They're also a good source of vitamin K and boron.

The combination of the above mentioned nutrients (the minerals, vitamin K and boron) are important for reducing bone loss.

They weaken the development and onset of skeletal conditions like osteoporosis. 

Boron is especially important for:

  • Adding to bone mineral density.
  • Improving overall strength.
  • Improving muscle mass.

9. Controls Blood Sugar Levels and Prevents Diabetes

Pears contain certain flavonoids which can improve a person's insulin sensitivity. This is important for preventing diabetes.

"Flavonoid" is just a fancy word that describes the nutritious compounds adding to the yellow colouring of certain fruits and vegetables, such as pears.

In addition, pears are low on the glycemic index.

The glycemic index (GI) is a standard measurement of the glucose-raising potential of a food's carbohydrate content, compared to a reference food. It tells you how quickly a certain food converts into sugar once metabolised by your body. 

So next time you're in the shops and see "LOW GI" printed on different food packagings, you'll know exactly what it means.

Pears release sugar into your bloodstream at a slow pace. That's why they have a low GI (glycemic index) score.

All this translates into a balanced blood sugar level and a lowered risk of developing diabetes. 

Pears are a healthy means of satisfying a sweet tooth.

health benefits of pears - sweet tooth

10. Improves Eye Health

Pears contain powerful eye-health promoting nutrients.

Regular consumption of pears prevent cataracts from forming and reduces the risk of macular degeneration.

11. Prevents Premature Signs of Ageing

The joint power of vitamin C, vitamin K, and copper in pears combat free radicals and protects your skin from damage.

Basically, a pear a day keeps the wrinkles at bay.

A pear a day keeps the wrinkles at bay.

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They tone up skin and reduce the formation of fine lines around the eyes and lips. They contain natural moisturising properties which makes your skin soft and smooth.

Other Noteworthy Health Benefits of Pears

Pears Make a Good Pre- or Post-Workout Snack

DrAxe.com writes:

"Like all fruit, eating pears can provide you with a quick boost of energy before a workout. Pears are a natural source of fructose and glucose that the body uses quickly to enhance physical performance, concentration and stamina, which makes pears excellent pre-workout snacks. You also need glucose after a workout to replenish glycogen reserves and help heal muscle tears, so consider having a pear along with a healthy source of protein as a post-workout meal or snack following exercise."

Pears are Hypoallergenic

"Although few studies have been done on the subject, doctors generally consider pears to be a hypoallergenic fruit because they are less likely than other fruits to produce an allergic response when eaten. For this reason, pears are generally considered 'safe' and are often one of the first fruits given to infants."

Improves Nutrient Absorption

"You can have a spot on diet, but if absorption of nutrients is inefficient, your body will never function optimally. Luckily, pears can come to your rescue. Pears are rich on copper, a mineral that improved uptake of other nutrients into blood, including the elusive iron. Iron’s absorption is usually limited by a variety of factors, most importantly being presence of vitamin C and B. copper helps to reduce this barrier to entry and allows enhanced red blood cell synthesis."

How To Select and Store Pears

We encourage you to buy locally grown, organic food.

The reason for this is simple: organically grown foods get less exposure to dangerous chemicals than commercially grown foods. Organically grown food are also more likely to be the product of heirloom seeds as opposed to GMO (genetically modified organisms) seeds.

Things to Look Out for When Selecting Pears

health benefits of pears - what to look out for when selecting pears

Ripe pears perish easily. Try to go for unripe pears and rather let them ripen at home.

  • They should be firm, but not hard.
  • Their skins should be smooth.
  • There should be no bruising on the pears.
  • There should be no mould on them.
  • Avoid pears with punctures.

How To Check if a Pear is Ripe

Pears vary in colour (from green to red to yellow) and the colour should not be considered as a factor to determine whether it is ripe or not.

Gently press the pear near its stem (don't squeeze the whole pear). If the spot near the stem gives in to the light pressure, the pear is ready to be eaten.

If a pear's flesh is almost squishy, rather use it for cooking and baking instead of eating it raw.

How To Store Pears

  • If you want your pears to ripen at their own pace, you can store them in an open space (like a fruit rack) at room temperature. 
  • If you want your pears to ripen quickly, place them inside a paper bag (at room temperature) and turn the bag occasionally. 
  • If your pears are ripe and you won't be eating them soon, store them in the refrigerator - this will keep them fresh for a few days.
  • Don't store your pears in a sealed, confined space (unless you place them in a paper bag to ripen them quicker). They need oxygen. Keeping them confined and close together will increase their ethylene gas (which they produce naturally), speed up the ripening process, and degrade them quickly.
  • Don't store your pears near other strong smelling foods. They absorb odours.

Quick Nutritional Reference Guide

health benefits of pears - pear nutrition infographic

The nutritional information for a medium-sized pear is:

  • 101 calories
  • 5 grammes fibre
  • 17 grammes sugar
  • 0 grammes of protein or fat
  • 7 milligrammes vitamin C (provides 12% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right
    8 milligrammes vitamin K (provides 10% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right
    0.1 milligrammes copper (provides 7% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right
    212 milligrammes potassium (provides 6% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right
    22 milligrammes boron (provides 6% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right
    0.1 milligrammes manganese (provides 4% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right
    5 milligrammes magnesium (provides 3% of what you need per day)
  • Hand Pointing Right
    5 micrograms folate (provides 3% of what you need per day)

Thanks to DrAxe.com for the nutritional information on pears.

Final Thoughts on the Health Benefits of Pears

If you're still reading, I know you are excited about the powerful health benefits of pears.

And you should be.

There is just one thing we haven't talked about yet. 

Is There a Negative Side to Pears?

Pears are a hypoallergenic fruit, so most people are not likely to suffer any negative reactions to pears. In fact, they are so safe, many mothers choose pears to wean their children.

As with all fruits, pears contain sugar. So eating too many can have negative impacts.

That being said, most people should be fine with one pear a day.

Your diet should be filled with plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins in addition to your fruit consumption. 

Usually, any negative effects that arise are linked with an imbalanced diet (too much fruit, for example).

Always eat your pear with its skin as it will absorb some sugar once eaten. 

Try to stay away from pear juice or have as little as possible. Pear juice doesn't contain enough fibre, so you end up consuming excess sugar.

Need help with making sure your diet is balanced and giving you what you need to be thrivingly healthy? Contact us, we're passionate about your health!

Please share this article with your loved ones.

AUTHOR: MELISSA NIEMANN
Freelance Writer & Metabole Online Marketing Partner

Melissa has a degree in Industrial and Organisational Psychology. She happily gave up a corporate life for writing and art, and has never looked back.

When she and and her husband, Izak, aren't busy making MetaboleWellness an awesome experience for all our visitors, she spends her time working on her art skills.

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