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The Nutritional and Health Benefits of Pears

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Latin Name: Pyrus Genus.

In India, the pear is called "Nashpaati".

About Pears

Pears belong to the genus Pyrus which has several species that provide this fruit albeit in different colours, shapes and sizes. Pear belongs to the family Rosaceae. About 20 odd species of pears have been widely recognized.

The 2 widely known pear species are :

  • European pear - Pyrus communis which are soft and juicy.
  • Asian pear - Pyrus pyrifolia which has a crisp and firm texture.

Worldwide about 3000 varieties of pears are grown. Pears are native to the cool and temperate areas of Western Europe, North Africa and Asia.

Some pears varieties almost look like apples. The presence of stone cells or grit in the flesh differentiates them from apples.

Pears ripen faster when placed closer to bananas while refrigerating them slows down this rate.

The culinary variety of pears is dry and hard and can be eaten only after cooking for several hours.

Pears were called "The gift of the Gods" by the famous author of Odyessy, Homer in 800 BC.

Uses Of Pears

Pears are eaten as a food and consumed in a variety of ways - fresh, as a juice, canned and dried. They are also used to make jams, jellies and even fermented to produce pear cider. Some varieties of pear are cultivated for cooking purposes.

Pearwood is used in making high-quality furniture and wooden instruments. Also used in making wood carvings and used as firewood for smoking meats and tobacco since the wood imparts a unique aromatic flavour.

The wood is also used to make spoons, scoops, stirrers etc for use in the kitchen. Since the wood does not warp, it is used to make rulers for Architects.

Nutritional Benefits Of Pears

  • Good source of dietary fibre providing about 8% of the daily value/100 grams.
  • Very low in calories, just 58 calories, amounting to 3% daily value/100 grams.
  • Cholesterol and sodium-free.
  • Good levels of Vitamin C, 7% daily value/100 grams and some Vitamin K, 4% of daily value/100 grams.
  • Good levels of the mineral copper providing 9% of DV/100 grams with some minerals like iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus in low levels.
  • Contains moderate amounts of flavonoid phytonutrients like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Also contains low levels of many common vitamin B complex vitamins including folate.

Nutrition In Pears

Pears (Pyrus communis), Fresh 

Nutritive value per 100 grams

 

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

 

Principle

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy

58 Kcal

3%

Carbohydrates

13.81 g

11%

Protein

0.38 g

<1%

Total Fat

0.12 g

0.50%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Dietary Fiber

3.10 g

8%

Vitamins

 

Folates

7 mcg

2%

Niacin

0.157 mg

1%

Pantothenic acid

0.048 mg

1%

Pyridoxine

0.028 mg

2%

Riboflavin

0.025 mg

2%

Thiamin

0.012 mg

1%

Vitamin A

23 IU

1%

Vitamin C

4.2 mg

7%

Vitamin E

0.12 mg

1%

Vitamin K

4.5 mcg

4%

Electrolytes

 

Sodium

1 mg

0%

Potassium

119 mg

2.50%

Minerals

 

Calcium

9 mg

1%

Copper

0.082 mg

9%

Iron

0.17 mg

2%

Magnesium

7 mg

2%

Manganese

2%

Phosphorus

11 mg

2%

Zinc

0.10 mg

1%

Phyto-nutrients

 

Beta-Carotene

12 mcg

--

Beta-Crypto-xanthin

2 mcg

--

Lutein-zeaxanthin

45 mcg

--

Health Benefits Of Pears

Some unique health benefits of pears are because of the following :

  • Pears are among the least allergenic of all fruits and are safe for use in food products for sufferers of allergies.
  • Pear skin contains 3 to 4 times as many antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytonutrients as the flesh. Plus, it contains almost 50% of the total dietary fibre a pear has.
    Therefore eat pears along with the skin.
  • It has been found in the Nurses Health Study that among all the fruits and vegetables, apples combined with pears, rather than any other fruit, has shown the most consistent in lowering type 2 diabetes in women. This study was only done on women.
  • It has also been found that cloudy fruit juices as opposed to clear fruit juices contain more phenolic phytonutrients and therefore more antioxidant capacity.
  • Research conducted by the University of Innsbruck, Austria, has found that the levels of antioxidants increase as the pear fruit ripens almost to the point of spoilage.
  • Pears are exceptionally rich in a wide variety of phytonutrients which is the basis for its excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Pears are one of the most easily digested fruits possibly because of its low acid nature and they are the first choice of pureed fruit to start introducing infants to pureed fruit.

Some Specific Health Benefits of Pears

  • Anti Cancer

The fibre content not only binds the bile acids as a whole but also to another group called secondary bile acids, which when present in appreciable amounts increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

The cinnamic acids in pears reduce the risk of stomach cancer. Pears also reduce the risk of oesophageal cancer.

Protection from free radical damage ensured by the antioxidants also reduces cancer risk.

  • Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease And Lowers Cholesterol

The fibre in pears by binding the bile acids also ensure the lowering of cholesterol levels. The glutathione content lowers blood pressure and prevents the risk of stokes to the extent of almost 50% as studies indicate.

  • Lowers Diabetes Risk

Pears are rich in dietary fibre and it has been found in studies that foods rich in fibre reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

Also, the various phytonutrients - the flavonoids like quercetin, kaempferol etc, the flavan-3-ols like epicatechin and the anthocyanins (in coloured varieties), improve insulin sensitivity.

Pears have a low glycemic index of just 38. so they do not tend to spike the blood sugar levels.

Apart from the above, yet more health benefits of pears are :

  • Being a low calorie, high fibre food helps in lowering weight.
  • Relieves constipation and improves colon and digestive health.
  • Improves immunity levels because of the various antioxidants.
  • Improves bone health due to the many minerals it contains.
  • Maintains healthy haemoglobin levels in pregnant women and helps in preventing birth defects in the growing fetus because of its iron and folate content.

Some Interesting Pears Facts

  1. Pears are sacred to 3 Goddesses in Roman and Greek mythology.
  2. Pear trees can produce fruit for as long as 100 years.
  3. They contain smart carbohydrates that are, they have more nutrients per calorie than calories per nutrient.
  4. They ripen best after plucking.
  5. They absorb odours fast. Store them away from strong-smelling foods in the fridge.
  6. Pears ripen from inside out. Therefore it is easy to locate their ripeness. When the neck of the fruit near the stem portion yields to gentle pressure, the fruit is ready to eat.
    A soft pear around the middle is overripe.
  7. Do not freeze pears as the juice and the fibres will separate out on thawing. Instead, freeze cooked pears.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

References

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/pears-gift-of-the-gods.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pear
http://www.livestrong.com/article/450771-benefits-of-pears-for-diabetes/
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pears.html
http://www.nutritionj.com/content/3/1/5
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/pears-gift-of-the-gods.html
http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(02)00850-X/abstract
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=28
http://www.drsinatra.com/apples-and-pears-can-reduce-stroke-risk-by-50/

Some Of My Other Hubs On Healthy Foods

  • Health Benefits Of Macadamia Nuts
    Macadamia nuts are called a functional food. Learn about the excellent nutritional profile as well as the many health benefits of macadamia nuts, by reading on...
  • The Health Benefits Of Asparagus Or Shatavari
    Asparagus is called Shatavari in India. While the shoots are eaten, the roots are used in Ayurvedic medicine. Learn about the impressive list of health benefits of asparagus by reading on...
  • Health Benefits Of Prunes
    Dried Prunes may not be the among the handsomest of fruits with their dark and wrinkly appearance but they have amazing health benefits. Read on to learn about the various health benefits of prunes..
  • The Many Uses And Health Benefits Of Sugarcane And Sugarcane Juice
    The humble sugarcane and sugarcane juice abound in many health benefits. Read about the many uses and health benefits of sugarcane and sugarcane juice...

Chocolate Pear Pudding - RECIPE

How To Make Pear Preserves

Homemade Gingerbread Pear Muffins from Scratch Recipe

A Mighty Tasty Pear Pie

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 16, 2013:

That's good to hear. Thanks Cat.

Cat from New York on May 15, 2013:

Rajan,

I enjoy pears so much that I usually eat them before I have a chance to turn them into anything else! I certainly will have to get a cart load full of them on my next shopping trip... and that tree, I will be planting :-)

Thanks again!

Cat

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 15, 2013:

@Paul, we do get the juicier and softer pears here too and I like eating both of them. Of course the Asian pears have more of chitin in them which makes them a bit crisper. Thanks for the votes and sharing.

@Cat, I'm glad you have been motivated to grow pears. That is wonderful and I'm looking forward to you trying out some of these recipes as well.

Thanks for stopping by.

Cat from New York on May 15, 2013:

Rajan,

I was just saying last night that I needed to plant a pear tree! Now, after reading your article, I think I'll go get one today :-)

I love pears and it's one of the fruits that New York weather can actually handle! You have so much useful information and delicious recipes I'm looking forward to experimenting with. Thanks!

Up and interesting!

Cat

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on May 15, 2013:

rajan,

This is an awesome hub, and once again after reading it and viewing your great photos, I'm homesick for Wisconsin and all of the juicy pears I ate when I was a kid. The firmer Asian pears just can't compare to the North American and Western European softer and juicier pear. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 03, 2013:

That's so good to hear, Cathy. Thanks.

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on April 30, 2013:

rajan, I went and bought pears tonight!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 30, 2013:

@Peggy-most of the pears available here are of this variety. Thanks for liking the hub and sharing it.

@moonlake-I wonder why the pears are not good. It is better not to buy fully ripe ones as they perish very fast. Thanks for the vote and shares.

@peachpurple-thanks for visiting.

@Rebecca-I do hope you will enjot the pears more this time. Thanks for stopping by.

@Cathy-Pears are excellent as a body flushing fruit. Appreciate the visit. Thanks.

@crazyhorsesghost-glad you liked the hub so much. Thanks for the visit and appreciation.

Thomas Byers from East Coast , United States on April 29, 2013:

Really great well laid out Hub Page. Very well done. I will also be trying the recipes. I have several pear trees on my farm here that are going to be loaded with pears this year as we have had a warm wet spring. Voted up and etc. Again thanks for a wonderful job. I appreciate it.

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on April 29, 2013:

omg, I've gone to pear heaven! Most excellent page of information you have here! Aren't pears a good source of detoxing ingredient too? I love pears! You've done a great job in almost going full circle about this fruit. Thanks much!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on April 29, 2013:

You summed it up well! I have two pear trees, and I can't wait until October when they will be ripe!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on April 29, 2013:

i love to eat pears, either just raw as a fruit or salad. Very resourceful hub.

moonlake from America on April 29, 2013:

I love pears but they don't seem to be very good when I buy them. Good information on here will share and voted up.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 29, 2013:

I had no idea that pear trees could live to be 100 years old. Amazing! That photo of pears from Vietnam was unlike any pear that I have ever seen. They almost looked like little red dangling bells on a tree. Always enjoy reading your well researched food hubs. This is good information to know. Up and useful votes and sharing + pinning.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 05, 2013:

GTF, thanks for stopping by adding to the comments.

Claudia Mitchell on March 05, 2013:

I'm so glad to know that one of the few fruits my daughter eats is so good for her. We always have pears in the house. I find them extremely soothing when I have an upset stomach too.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 05, 2013:

@ Nithya - Thanks for reading.

@ Arun - Appreciate your comments and visit.

@ Anthony - Nice to see you found the hub interesting. Thank you.

Anthony Binks from Northern Ireland on March 05, 2013:

I loved your hub.

I never realised pears had so many good things in them, not a massive amount in terms of your RDA but still a good variety.

Also I found it interesting to know that Pear wood doesn't warp and is used for rulers by Architects.

Thanks for the interesting hub.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE from KOLKATA on March 04, 2013:

Thank you for the valuable information on a fruit I eat regularly.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 03, 2013:

I love pears and am happy to know that they are low in calories and high in fiber. Thank you for this informative hub.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 03, 2013:

@ moonlake - we get both the soft as well the crisp variety here. But I love the crisp ones. Thanks for reading and sharing.

@ shin_rock - Appreciate the visit and sharing. Thanks.

@ Joe - of course they are a delight to eat even if there were no benefits to it. Thanks for the support, my friend.

@ Patricia - I can't agree with you more, they are just delicious. It is always good to see you. Thank you.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 03, 2013:

Hi rajan jolly

I need NO reason to eat these lovely fruit. They are absolutely one of my all time favorites. But I am delighted to know they are so full of good stuff for us. I love the skin too.

Thanks for sharing with us....sending Agnels to you this evening :) ps

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on March 03, 2013:

Pears are such delicious fruit that I'd eat them regardless of their health benefits. That said, it's wonderful to learn that they are so very nutritious! Thanks once again for the great research, Rajan, and for presenting this information to us in such a professional and yet reader-friendly fashion.

Aloha!

Joe

shin_rocka04 from Maryland on March 03, 2013:

Awesome post. A lot of nice recipes up there, too. I don't eat pears often, but I definitely enjoy them. Voted up, shared, and pinned.

moonlake from America on March 03, 2013:

I love pears but I never find good ones in our store. They are hard as rocks and just not easy to eat. Very informative hub voted up and shared.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 03, 2013:

@ Carol - I'd certainly love to see the painted pears. Thanks for the visit.

@ Margaret - thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you husband loves pears.

@ Sheila - it's always a pleasure to see you here. Thanks.

@ Bill -I'm glad this time I wrote about something you can relate to. Thanks.

@ wetnosedogs - thanks for the input buddy. nice your dog loves it too!

@ Marlene - good to know you like the hub. thank you.

@ peachpurple - thanks for stopping by.

@ Indian Chef - Love baggugosha too.

@ mr-veg - Glad you like the info. Thanks.

@ Au fait - I hope you give these recipes a shot to see how they turn out for you. Appreciate your votes. Thanks.

C E Clark from North Texas on March 02, 2013:

I've always loved pears even as a little child and so did my daughter, pears being one of the first solid foods I introduced to her. They're great fresh, in pies and cakes, and I love pear sauce (like applesauce but with pears instead). That recipe for pear muffins you have above looks so yummy! The pear pudding with chocolate intrigues me. I love chocolate and pears but have never tried them together before. Looking forward to seeing how that turns out!

Voted up, and useful!

mr-veg from Colorado United States on March 02, 2013:

Nice one Rajan !! very informative and the youtube videos are great collection of recipes !! Thanks for the detailed hub...

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on March 02, 2013:

I love eating pears and I really enjoy babbugosha in the season.

LKMore01 on March 02, 2013:

Rajan,

Believe it or not I was eating a pear while scrolling through the Hub pages and happened upon your article. Great information.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on March 02, 2013:

interesting hub. I love to eat raw pears, especially the green ones. Very juice and crunchy. Yellow pears are usually China type. May taste a little sour and turn brown if not eaten immediately. Voted up

Marlene Bertrand from USA on March 02, 2013:

Pears are packed with deliciousness and a lot of health benefits. And, I didn't know pear wood was used for so many things. Very interesting hub. I enjoyed reading it.

wetnosedogs from Alabama on March 02, 2013:

I have a pear tree. And the pears are delicious. My youngest dog loves them too. I'm assuming it's o.k. for her to eat them. She's a greedy thing. They seem to have no ill effect on her.

The landlord next door used to own this house and he will gather up pears here and he brings me back pear jelly. Yummy!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 02, 2013:

We had a pear tree in our yard when I was growing up so I grew up eating them and never stopped. Delicious fruit and evidently very beneficial. Great information as always my friend.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on March 02, 2013:

I love pears. We have a pear tree in our backyard. If I can keep the squirrels from eating all the pears before they are ready to pick, I have plenty to make jam or jelly. I didn't realize they were so very healthy. Glad I found your hub! Voting up and more! :)

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on March 02, 2013:

My husband is diabetic, and he eats a pear every day. Seems that this is a good choice for him, since pears are so low on the glycemic index. Wonderful hub - voted up, useful and interesting - and sharing.

carol stanley from Arizona on March 02, 2013:

First of all I think I am going to paint those pears... I am not a huge fan of this fruit but my husband is..Thanks for sharing the valuable information as you always do. I am so in love with that picture..Cannot wait to paint. Voting Up++ and sharing.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 02, 2013:

@ Pavlo - thanks for coming by and the share.

@ Kathryn - you are welcome.I appreciate the visit and comments.

@ Devika - I do hope you have a good harvest. Thanks for reading.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 02, 2013:

Pears have a juicy taste, we have a pear tree and had a few last season this year I think would be more. Very interesting to know more about another fruit. Voted Up!

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on March 02, 2013:

This is a very informative article. I haven't had pears in years, but I know I used to like the soft kind.

I didn't know pears were so low in calories, and high in nutrients!

Thanks for sharing this information with us, Rajan Jolly!

Pavlo Badovskyi from Kyiv, Ukraine on March 02, 2013:

I love jelly made of pears!!! Great hub! Shared

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