Pears (Pyrus L.) have a high content of healthy nutrients, have an anti-inflammatory effect and can also strengthen intestinal health and the cardiovascular system. Nutritionist Beth Czerwony from the Cleveland Clinic (USA) explains what other health benefits pears can bring.
From a health perspective, according to Czerwony, the following factors speak in favor of regular pear consumption: the vitamins and minerals it contains, the promotion of digestion and intestinal health, the anti-inflammatory effect, the strengthening of heart health and the effect on blood sugar levels.
Numerous different types of pears
Like apples, apricots, cherries and peaches, pears belong to the Rosaceae plant family, although their appearance and taste can vary greatly between individual varieties. The Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE) names the following particularly popular local pear varieties:
- Abate Fetel (autumn-winter pear),
- Alexander Lucas (Winterbirne)
- Clapp’s favorite (summer pear),
- Conference (Herbstbirne),
- Gellerts Butterbirne (Herbstbirne),
- Good Luise (autumn pear),
- Delicious of Charneux or mayor pear (autumn pear)
- and Williams Christ (summer pear).
According to Czerwony, other commercially available pear varieties include the Nashi pear, the D’Anjou pear, the Boscs bottle pear, the Comice pear, the Concorde pear and the trout pear.
High content of vitamins and minerals
All pears are a great source of antioxidants, fiber, potassium and vitamin C, explains the nutritionist. A medium-sized pear contains approximately:
- 102 calories,
- 27 grams of carbohydrates,
- 0 grams of cholesterol,
- 0.2 grams of fat,
- 6 grams of fiber,
- 0.6 grams of protein,
- 1 milligram of sodium
- and 17 grams of sugar.
A medium-sized pear also provides:
- 8 milligrams of vitamin C,
- 8 micrograms vitamin K,
- 0.05 milligrams of vitamin B6
- and 206 milligrams of potassium.
In particular, the vitamins and fiber it contains are said to have extensive positive effects on health, but other ingredients in the pear can also benefit your health.
Improving blood sugar levels
For example, pears can help stabilize blood sugar levels and even reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, reports the expert. And a stable blood sugar level means a consistent supply of energy, which is fundamentally healthier for the body.
According to Czerwony, the fiber it contains plays an important role in the positive effect on blood sugar. These help to keep blood sugar levels stable by slowing down the body’s absorption of sugar, explains the expert.
Pears also contain anthocyanins, with an observational study suggesting a link between consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Another study concluded that eating pears (and apples) can significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Czerwony reports. In addition, pears are a food with a low glycemic index, so they do not increase blood sugar levels as much.
Digestion and intestinal health benefit
Fiber also improves digestion and bowel movements and a single pear already contains six grams of fiber (over 20 percent of an adult’s daily requirement), according to the nutritionist.
The largest proportion is pectin, a soluble fiber that, according to a study, can help against constipation. And another study also showed that pectin can also contribute to healthy intestinal flora.
Since the pear peel contains a significant portion of the fruit’s total fiber content, it is best to eat it with it, emphasizes Czerwony.
Antioxidants are nutrients that can prevent some of the cell damage that leads to inflammation, and pears are rich in powerful antioxidants called flavonoids, explains the expert.
Research shows that flavonoids can reduce inflammation and lower the risk of the following diseases:
- heart disease,
- Infections caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses,
- Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s,
- Type 2 diabetes and the nerve damage it causes.
Strengthening heart health
According to Czerwony, pears can also promote heart health, which is attributed in particular to the fiber and anthocyanins they contain, but also to the potassium content.
A meta-analysis of 44 studies showed that anthocyanins can protect against coronary heart disease and another study demonstrated, among other things, that fiber has an effect against high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Potassium has also been proven to help reduce high blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease, adds the nutritionist.
In addition, a study on the effects of fruit and vegetable consumption suggests that pears may reduce the risk of fatal heart disease and the risk of stroke.
A perfect snack
“Pears are very healthy and are well tolerated by most people. They are excellent for digestion and offer other impressive health benefits,” concludes Czerwony. This makes pears a perfect snack when you feel like something sweet every now and then. (fp)