Pear Nutrition: 5 Ways This Fruit Can Boost Your Health

Pears are nutritional powerhouses you can enjoy beyond holiday gift baskets. Here's what a nutritionist wants you to know about this crisp, juicy fruit.

If you only think about pears during the holidays when a bunch of them arrive in the mail in a holiday gift basket, you’re missing out. Pears have been enjoyed for centuries for all of their juicy deliciousness. Considering that more than 3,000 varieties are grown worldwide, there's a pear for every palate—from soft and sweet to crisp and juicy.

Pears have more going for them than the way they taste. This fruit also offers serious nutritional benefits. Pears may help with weight management, improve digestion, reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes, and much more.

Nutrition Facts for Pears

A medium pear (178 grams) contains the following, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):

  • Calories: 101 calories
  • Fat: <1 gram
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 1.78 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 27.10 grams
  • Fiber: 5.52 grams
  • Protein: <1 gram

The Benefits of Pears

Pears Are Packed With Nutrients

A medium pear is a good source of vitamin C; this fruit also packs in some potassium, vitamin K, copper, magnesium, and B vitamins, according to the USDA. Pears are an excellent source of fiber, too, which helps keep your GI system regular.

They May Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Both apples and pears are thought to be particularly helpful at reducing diabetes risk because of their high fiber count, which is known to help keep blood sugar levels down. One study published in 2017 bears this out, finding an 18% reduction in risk for type 2 diabetes among people who reported eating the most apples and pears versus individuals who ate the least. For every pear (or apple) you consumed per week, the risk for diabetes was reduced by about 3%, according to the study.

Pears Provide Beneficial Phytonutrients

The authors of a study published in 2014 found that some pear varieties (Yaguang, Hongpi, Qingpi, and Guifei) had higher antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Pears, especially those with colorful skins, provide phytonutrients, or natural plant chemicals, like flavonoids. These compounds are known to help keep inflammation low by neutralizing free radicals—which can cause cell damage that in turn can lead to chronic disease such as heart disease and cancer. Free radicals are also linked to premature aging.

They Help With Weight Management

A medium pear has just over 100 calories. And the high level of fiber mentioned earlier? All that fiber helps satiate your appetite so you feel satisfied longer. Here's the research: In a 12-week study, women were divided into three groups. One group added three apples to their daily diet, a second group added three pears, and the third group added three low-fat oat cookies. The study found that the women who consumed apples or pears lost nearly two pounds in 12 weeks—without making other diet changes.

They’re Easy To Add to Meals

Pears can be enjoyed in myriad ways—from breakfast to dessert—making it super simple to score their nutritional benefits without a lot of prep work or cooking time. Try pear parfaits or sliced pears in your cereal for breakfast; at lunch, cut one up into a salad or with a turkey or cheese sandwich.

For dinner, they can be baked, roasted, or added to stir-frys. And of course, pears make the perfect portable snack. Try sliced pears with nut butter or a pear with brie. For dessert, nothing hits the spot like a pear crumble or pear tart. Yum!

What Else To Know About Pears

As is the case for certain foods, eating pears may trigger an allergic reaction for some individuals. When the allergic reaction entails an itchy mouth or throat after eating a pear—and a person has pollen-related allergies—the reaction may be part of oral allergy syndrome (OAS).

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) says that OAS occurs because some of the proteins in the skins of specific raw fruits and vegetables may trigger the body's immune system due to how similar they are to the proteins in pollen. Additionally, OAS is considered a mild, contact allergic reaction, affecting 50 to 75% of adults who have a birch tree pollen allergy.

Other than itchiness, you might experience swelling of your mouth and throat as well as your face, lips, or tongue with OAS—either shortly or, rarely, up to an hour after eating a pear. The AAAAI says to contact a healthcare professional if your OAS symptoms:

  • Cause significant throat discomfort
  • Get worse over time
  • Are triggered by cooked fruits and vegetables as well as nuts
  • Turn into a bodily reaction such as hives, vomiting, or difficulty breathing

You may be able to get relief from OAS symptoms through allergy shots. However, it's best to either avoid eating pears if they cause the symptoms or consider enjoying them without the skin, baking them, or eating prepackaged pears.

Overall, from vitamins and minerals to improvements or boosts in your physical health, pears may offer a number of benefits if you're able to add them to your diet.

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