The pear is one of the tastiest fruits you can find, but more importantly – it is packed to the brim with health benefits. This fruit was domesticated over 3,000 years ago, though some speculate that the pear and human history have been intertwined since the Stone Age.
Throughout history, pears were among the most celebrated kinds of fruit. In Homer’s Odyssey, it is said that “the pear is the gift of the gods”, while in the court of French King Louis XIV, the pear was considered to be a luxurious delicacy. Nowadays, one can find this marvelous fruit in stores year-round, and despite that, it still remains a gift from the heavens for many reasons.
What makes it so great?
Pears are an excellent source of fiber, containing 3 grams of fiber per 100 grams of fruit. The fibers are soluble, which makes the fruit beneficial for your bowels and able to reduce high levels of bad cholesterol in the body. An 8-year-long study tested 51,000 middle-aged women, and found that a high-fiber diet reduced the risk of breast cancer by 34%. In addition to the fibers, pears also contain plenty of vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. What pears don’t have, is cholesterol, sodium, saturated fats, and nearly no calories (50 kcal for a medium-sized pear).
The pear’s health benefits
- Lowers high blood pressure – Pears are rich in antioxidants and anticarcinogens, which help to reduce blood pressure.
- Cancer prevention – High levels of vitamin C and copper protect your cells from free radicals. Additionally, the pear’s skin contains glutathione – a powerful anti-carcinogen.
- Reduces cholesterol levels – Thanks to a high concentration of soluble dietary fibers, pears are able to reduce LDL levels. Most of the fiber is found in the pear’s skin.
- Colon health – Aside from cholesterol, dietary fibers also help regulate your colon and keep its lining healthy.
- Natural cure for constipation – Pear juice is a natural remedy for constipation.
- Lower fevers – Pears have fever-reducing properties, especially when juiced.
- Boosts the immune system – The antioxidants in pears are powerful boosters of the immune system.
- Anti-inflammatory – Pears contain several anti-inflammatory substances.
- Great for pregnant women – Pears are rich in folic acid, which is vital for the development of the fetus’s nervous system.
- Slows down calcium loss – Pears are loaded with boron, an element that helps the body retain calcium and slow down calcium loss.
- Keeps the throat healthy – The skin is rich in pectin, which can be helpful in cases of sore throats, by clearing phlegm and relieving coughs.
- Hypoallergenic – If you suffer from allergies, pears are the perfect fruit for you, as they are hypoallergenic. This makes them one of the best fruits to give to a baby when he or she starts eating solid food.
Here’s how to add pears to your meals:
- Breakfast – cut it into yogurt and enjoy.
- On the road – eat it fresh, just don’t forget a paper towel.
- In salad – pears go particularly well with green, leafy salads.
- For guests – pear and apple slices, served with an assortment of cheeses, make for a healthy and interesting appetizer.
A few last tips
- The pear’s skin is rich in dietary fibers, so don’t discard it.
- For the highest concentration of antioxidants, eat the pear only when it’s ripe.
- When picking pears, choose ones that are firm, have smooth skin, and show no signs of bruising.
- When they’re ripe, pears will spoil quickly, which means that if you buy them in a shop, they are probably still not fully ripe yet.
- To hasten the ripening process, keep them at room temperature. Once they are ripe, keep them refrigerated.
- To delay the ripening process, put the pears in a brown paper bag.
- Pears oxidize faster when cut. To stop them from turning brown, squeeze lemon or orange juice on the exposed flesh.