‘When bounteous autumn rears her head, he got to pull the ripened pear’ ~John Dryden
Since times immemorial, consuming fruits is almost synonymous with good health. Consumption of fruits reduces the risk of many diseases and makes your body stronger. One such popular and widely eaten fruit is Pear. It is packed with various nutrients and is extremely beneficial for your health. Pears are relatively low in calories but rich in certain nutrients and fibre content.
Pears are seasonal and are harvested in India from late summer to early winter, as mentioned by John Dryden in one of his poems- ‘When bounteous autumn rears her head, he got to pull the ripened pear’.
There are various uses and benefits of pear, some of which are detailed in this article.
What Is Pear?
Pears are mildly sweet fruits with a fibrous and juicy center. They belong to the Rosaceae family. They are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fibre and devoid of any fats or cholesterol. There are a wide variety of pear trees but only a few of them bear edible fruits that can be consumed by humans. Some pear varieties are only used as decorative trees and shrubs. The fruit is the upper end of the flower stalk and is typically narrow at the top and wider at the bottom. This, however, doesn’t really determine a “pear” variety. Some pears are shaped just like apples and the flesh inside the skin is also similar to apples, although it is grittier in consistency due to the presence of stone cells. This is one of the most obvious differences between apples and pears, apart from the taste.
Pears are said to have originated in China and are native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. There is evidence of them being consumed since prehistoric times. Pears grow in places with temperate, cool climates that make them very versatile and easy to cultivate.
Benefits Of Pear
1. Improves Digestion
A single serving of pear provides 18% of the daily requirement of fibre intake for us. This is basically why they are a very strong agent for improving digestive health. Most of the fibre in pears is a non-soluble polysaccharide (NSP), which acts as a bulking element in the intestines. This fibre accumulates the food and adds bulk, hence making it easier for the food to pass through the intestines. Furthermore, the fruit stimulates secretion of gastric and digestive juices. It also regulates bowel movements and reduces the chances of constipation, as well as diarrhea and loose stool. “Systematic Review of Pears and Health” is a study of Nutrition Today proves this.
2. Helps Lose Weight
Some fruits have natural sugar which increases their calorie count. However, pears are among the lowest calorie fruits having immense nutritional value. An average pear contains about 100 calories. The presence of fibre makes you feel full and you don’t feel the urge to eat soon. A study titled “Fresh Pear Consumption is Associated with Better Nutrient Intake, Diet Quality, and Weight Parameters in Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2010” that was published in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences, scientifically explains this fact.
3. Has an Abundance of Anti-oxidants
“Determination of the Phenolic Composition and Antioxidant Activity of Pear Extracts” is a study which tells us in length about the antioxidant activity in pears. This study shows that pears have an abundance of Vitamin C which is necessary for fighting various diseases. Antioxidants present in the pears work to eliminate the free radicals that accumulate in the body as an after-effect of cellular metabolism. These free radicals mutate healthy cell DNA into cancerous cells and are capable of causing several other serious conditions.
4. Promotes Heart Health
According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods, polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in apples and pears indicate protective properties towards the heart. The study found that participants who ate an apple or a pear a day for 4 weeks lowered blood levels of LDL (or bad cholesterol) by as much as 40% in comparison to those who did not. Pears have a good amount of potassium which is a well-known vasodilator. It also promotes blood flow to all the organs.
5. Reduces Inflammation
The antioxidant and flavonoid components of pears can induce anti-inflammatory effects in the body very easily. This also reduces the pain associated with inflammation. A journal in Science Daily titled “Among body shapes, pears are healthier than apples” proves that pear also helps in the reduction of symptoms of arthritis, rheumatic conditions, gout, and similar conditions. Having a certain amount of pear will help you combat these problems.
6. Helps in Blood Circulation
A journal named “Velocity of Blood Flow in Health and Disease” of Clinical Progress rings out the fact that consuming pears helps in circulating blood in our body. Pears have a high content of copper and iron in them. Copper helps facilitate and improve the uptake of minerals into the system and increased levels of iron mean that the red blood cell synthesis also increases. Moreover, potassium ensures blood flow to all organs at a faster rate.
7. Enhances Healing
Vitamin C, which helps in synthesizing new tissue in various organs and cellular structures of the body, is found in pears in great quantities. This helps the body in maintaining optimum metabolism. Apart from that, pears have high levels of ascorbic acid which speeds up wound healing. It also helps to repair damaged blood vessels, hence reducing the strain on the cardiovascular system and preventing certain heart diseases from developing.
8. Boosts Immunity
‘The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’ has brought forth a comprehensive study that includes the benefits of vitamin C. Pears are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C that help in stimulating white blood cell production. They also boost the immune system, which helps to eliminate conditions like common cold, flu, and other mild illnesses.
9. Strengthens the Bones
Pears have a high mineral content comprising of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, calcium and copper. These minerals aid in reducing bone mineral loss and prevent conditions like osteoporosis. Moreover, the fruit fights the general weakness of the body attributed to weak bones. Include pears in your daily diet to avail all these benefits.
Also Read: Pomegranate Benefits | Benefits Of Coconut
Nutritional Value of Pear
Here is the nutrient value of a pear per 100 grams:
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||0.14|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||15.23|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||3.1|
|Sugars, total [g]||9.75|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||9|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||0.18|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||7|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||12|
|Potassium, K [mg]||116|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||1|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||0.1|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||4.3|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.03|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||7|
|Vitamin B-12 [µg]||0|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||1|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||25|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||0.12|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]||0|
|Vitamin D [IU]||0|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]||4.4|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||0.02|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||0.08|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||0.09|
|Fatty acids, total trans [g]||0|
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Also Read: Custard Apple Calories
Risks And Precautions When Consuming Pear
- If we consume pears regularly, then it is highly beneficial for our health. However, over-consumption can be harmful.
- Too much fibre in the body will interfere with the absorption of nutrients and high levels of Vitamin C will also be harmful.
- Eating too many pears can cause gastric problems.
- You should be very careful in consuming pears if you suffer from diabetes.
How To Consume Pear?
The best way to pick a ripe pear is to gently apply a little pressure on the top of the pear near the stem. If the fruit yields evenly at that spot then it is ripe and ready to be consumed. Do not buy pears that are soft at any other spot because that means they are over-ripe and mushy. If you are picking pears to make a salad then choose the ones that are a little less ripe. There are a lot many dishes that you can prepare with a pear easily. Here are selected few of them:
- Perk up your ordinary grilled cheese sandwich with a few slices of pear, bacon and a dollop of jam.
- Slice a few pears and toss them in a salad for a healthy breakfast.
- Dress your pie and ice cream in poached or sliced pear.
- Give your usual rice pudding a twist and add pear to make it more exquisite.
- Make a toffee pear pudding for dessert.
- Poach pears in spiced red wine for a popular dish.
Some Fun Facts About Pear
Here are a few fun facts about pears that you must know to flaunt your gourmet-self at the next gathering with friends.
- There are about 3,000 varieties of pears grown around the world.
- Before the introduction of tobacco in Europe, people smoked pear leaves.
- Pears have been a part of many diets for thousands of years.
- Pears have been found in Celtic literature, Roman history and Chinese lore.
- The Bartlett is the most popular variety of pear in the United States.
- Pears were used as a natural remedy against nausea in ancient Greece.
- Although pears mature on the tree, they ripen best off the tree.
Pear is a versatile food that can be used in different types of dishes. Moreover, this juicy fruit is loaded with many nutrients offering a multitude of health benefits to our bodies. Pears improve the texture and quality of our skin and hair besides improving our overall health. So, indulge in this delectable fruit and enjoy the many health benefits that it offers.