Health Benefits of Pears
“A pear a day keeps the doctor away.”
Does that statement seem wrong to you? While it’s true that Benjamin Franklin actually made that claim about apples, he could just as easily have made it about one of the other quintessential fall fruits – the pear.
It’s true – pears are not only delicious (and if you’re not a fan, it may be that you haven’t hit on quite the right pear variety for your taste buds), but they’re also supremely good for you. Pears can be used in many ways besides eating them fresh out of hand as a quick, low-calorie and tasty snack (though we definitely recommend this). Alongside apples on cheese boards, sliced into salads, baked into pies, swirled into smoothies, or chopped over your morning cereal…the pear’s mellow, pleasing flavor works in a wide variety of dishes from sweet to savory. The fact that they’re highly nutritious is just one more great reason why you should be pumped for pear season!
Reasons to Make Pears Part of Your Healthy Eating Plan
Pears are not only easy to add to your diet – you should consider adding them, because some of their most powerful health benefits directly address our greatest health concerns as a culture. Pears are packed with a variety of nutrients that studies show help reduce your risk of developing a host of health conditions. Here’s how:
- Pears can help you fight off illnesses of all kinds. Citrus fruits aren’t the only source of vitamin C – just one medium-sized pear contains about 7 mg of vitamin C, making the pleasing pome fruit a great way to shore up your immune system before the winter weather sets in. Not only that, the antioxidants in pears also help reduce your risk of cancer, dementia, and other chronic conditions because they help fight off free radicals that put your cells under oxidative stress and lead to infection.
- Pears are good for your heart. Just one five-ounce pear contains nearly six grams of healthy dietary fiber. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, but studies show a diet high in fiber can help reduce your risk. High-fiber foods play a role in lowering your blood pressure and your cholesterol for a healthier cardiovascular system. Pears are also a great source of potassium, which aids in heart function.
- Pears are great for your digestion. All that fiber isn’t just good for your heart – it’s good for your gut, too. Soluble fiber helps feed the healthy bacteria in your gut, improves nutrient absorption, and aids in keeping you hydrated – all of which helps to keep you regular.
- Pears can help you stay slim. Pears are sweet enough to satisfy you, but they’re also less than a hundred calories per serving and fat-free. Plus, all that fiber helps you to feel full, so noshing on a fresh pear will not only satiate your sweet tooth – it will also fill you up and keep you from craving less wholesome snacks. And while pears contain natural sugars, they’re low on the glycemic index. This in turn will help you maintain a healthy weight, which will reduce your risk of developing the ever-increasing bane of Western culture, Type 2 Diabetes.
- Pears may improve your calcium levels. Does this one surprise you? While pairs don’t contain as much calcium as, say, dairy, they do contain some (along with vitamin K, copper, manganese, magnesium, and copper, all essential to bone health). More significantly, pears are rich in boron, which helps your body absorb calcium so it can do its job in strengthening your bones, which in turn lowers your risk of osteoporosis.
- Pears may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. This one surprised us, but studies back it up: crystal-forming substances in your urine can lead to kidney stones, but the high malic acid levels and low sodium content in pears can help your body balance sodium and water to prevent them from forming. As anyone who has ever suffered through a kidney stone can tell you, that’s a good thing!
- Pears can help you look younger. Here’s another area where the high fiber content in pears steps in – it helps regulate the release of sugar into your blood. This in turn helps prevent sugar spikes that lead to collagen damage. Your skin needs collagen to retain its smoothness and elasticity. Also – remember when we said that the vitamin C found in pears helps combat free radicals? Free radicals are also harmful to your skin, and a diet rich in vitamin C can help counteract them.
Great Ways to Use Pears
Hale Groves offers a wide variety of delicious pears, and you can enjoy them as more than just a snack eaten whole (though, again, that’s our favorite way to enjoy them). Here are just a few delectable ideas:
- Add cubed pear to your morning oatmeal
- Slice pears into an autumn salad
- Serve baked pears drizzled with honey or chocolate and sprinkled with cinnamon
- Make a charcuterie board with slices of apple and pear served with cheese and crackers
- Add pear to your breakfast smoothie
- Blend with other fruits for fresh juice
- Add roasted or poached pears to savory poultry or pork dishes
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