11 Surprising Benefits of Pears
Pears are valuable fruits that have been widely used around the world and savored for their delicious flavor since ancient times. The health benefits of pears include their ability to aid in weight loss, improve digestion and heart health, regulate the body’s fluid levels, and reduce blood pressure. They also increase the cognitive ability, prevent cancer, and promote wound healing and tissue repair. Pears help to defend against birth defects, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation. They increase the metabolism, improve circulation, protect against osteoporosis and aid in skin, eye, and hair care.
What are Pears?
Pears are delicious and sweet pomaceous fruits with juicy flesh. The term “pear” actually describes a number of trees and bushes in the genus Pyrus, of the larger family Rosaceae. There are a wide variety of pear trees and only a few of them bear edible fruits that can be consumed by humans; a number of 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 (stem) and wider at the bottom. However, this is not the way to ultimately determine a “pear” variety. Some pears are shaped just like apples! The appearance of the flesh inside the skin is also similar to apples, although it is a slightly grittier in consistency, due to the presence of stone cells. This is one of the most obvious differences between the two fruits, apart from the taste.
Pears originated in China and are native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia, and there is an evidence of them being consumed since prehistoric times. Pears have been a part of many diets for thousands of years, and have been found in Celtic literature, Roman history, and Chinese lore. They can grow easily in places with temperate, cool climates that make them very versatile and easy to cultivate.
Nutritional Value of Pears
Besides their availability and flavor, pears have also been valued for their medicinal benefits for thousands of years. Modern science now tells us that the mineral, vitamin, and organic compound content of pear species is the reason for its vast health potential. Some of these active and effective components are potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, phenolic compounds, folate, dietary fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, as well as B-complex vitamins.
Health Benefits of Pears
Apart from being a tasty addition to the diet, pears are also packed with many nutrients, which provide medicinal benefits. Let us look at the benefits in detail;
While a single serving of pears provides 18% of the daily requirement for fiber intake, they can be a very strong agent for improving digestive health too. Most of the fiber in pears is a non-soluble polysaccharide (NSP), which means that it acts as a bulking agent in the intestines. This fiber accumulates the food and adds bulk so it is easier for the food to pass through the intestines. Furthermore, it 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. Also, the gritty nature of pear fiber helps it bind to cancer-causing agents and free radicals in the colon and protect the organ from their damaging effects.
One of the complaints that some people have about various fruits is the calorie content, mainly derived from natural sugars. However, pears are one of the lowest-calorie fruits; an average pear has just over 100 calories, which is 5% of daily calorie allowance of a healthy diet. However, the nutritional supplementation they give you is immense, and the fiber makes you feel full. Therefore, people trying to lose weight often turn to pears to get the most “bang for their buck”. It is a high-energy and high-nutrition food with low impact on weight gain and obesity.
Like many other fruits, pears are a wealth of antioxidants that combat various diseases and conditions within the body. Antioxidants work to eliminate the free radicals that accumulate in the body following cellular metabolism. These free radicals mutate healthy cell DNA into cancerous cells and can cause a number of other devastating conditions. Therefore, antioxidant components of vitamin C, vitamin A, and flavonoid compounds like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which are found in pears, can help rid the body of these dangerous compounds.
Antioxidants are primarily praised for their anti-carcinogenic activities, and pears have been connected to prevention of a number of different types of cancer, including colon, rectum, breast, prostate, and lung cancer.