No woman would like a pear shaped body, but taste of a pear is liked by many. Pears are popular all over the world for their wonderful taste and innumerable nutritional properties. Kids love pears and its juice. A pear is a juicy, soft and sweet fruit belonging to the family of rose – Rosaceae. Although pears are available all year through, their peak season happens to be the winter season. They are picked when still unripe and then allowed to ripe slowly at room temperature. As they ripe, they become softer in texture and sweeter in taste. Pears come in many different varieties, varying in shape, color, flavor and texture. This fruit can also be obtained in the canned, dried, or in the juice forms. It is believed that pears originated either in Asia or Europe some 3000 years ago. Today pears are popular across globe.
There exist several varieties of pears. Bartlett / Williams pears are yellow green pears popular in US. Bosc is brown-skinned pear variety. Comice are short and round pears and sometimes completely red. Concorde is tall green pearwith firmer flesh. Forelle – is red/green and speckled variety Green Anjou is widely available. Red Anjou very much like reen Anjou but have reddish purple colour due to presence of anthocyanins. Red Bartlett also has bright red skin. Seckel is smallest of pear variety. Starkrimson is also bright crimson red color.
Nutritional values of pears
Pears are packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and dietary fiber that help in maintaining good health. An average sized pear can provide you with around 100 calories, 1 gram of protein, 25 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of dietary fiber. The fiber in pears is mostly non-soluble and hence it acts as a good laxative in your stomach. Pears contain high amounts of vitamin C and moderate amounts of other vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B2, vitamin B3 and vitamin B6. They are also a good source of many minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. This fruit is low in fat, low in calories, low in sodium and low in cholesterol. Pears also contain a good amount of antioxidant carotenoids like beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein, which improves your immune system and protects you from many diseases. Some red varieties of pears are rich in anthocyanins which has various health benefits.
Health benefits of pear
The nutritional value of pears is so amazing that the regular intake of this fruit has been associated with many health benefits and the reduced risk of many serious and chronic diseases.
Pears can lower cholesterol
Pears are a good source of water-soluble fibers that produce pectin, when dissolved in water. Pectin is an excellent cholesterol lowering agent. This fruit is also a rich source of insoluble fiber like lignin, which helps in eliminating cholesterol from your body. Lignin binds together the cholesterol before it is absorbed into your blood stream and slowly removes it out of your body via your stools. Several studies reveal that pears help in reducing the total cholesterol and LDL levels in your blood.
Pears for heart health
Pears are a rich source of dietary fiber that helps in reducing the bad cholesterol levels without negatively affecting the levels of good cholesterol. Cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. The fiber in pears binds together the cholesterol molecules in the intestine and makes it easier for it to be removed through the feces. Moreover, the polyphenols present in pears is also beneficial in improving the health of your heart and in reducing the risk of heart diseases. Regular intake of pears can therefore provide protection to your heart from cardiovascular diseases.
Pears can lower blood pressure
High blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to many health problems like stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and loss of vision. Pears contain antioxidants that have the power to lower high blood pressure. Studies also reveal that the consumption of foods high in dietary fiber has a lowering effect on the blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension. According to a study published in the Journal of Hypertension, the regular intake of fiber lead to a considerable decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people having hypertension or high blood pressure. Pears are also a good source of potassium, which is well known for its vasodilator effects.
Pears are antioxidant fruits
Pears supply body with various nutrients which have strong anti oxidant activity. These include Vitamin C, Vitamin A, flavonoids like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. They help body eliminate free radical from body which harms body cells.
Pears and digestive health
Since pears are rich in nutrients that are essential for the proper functioning of your digestive system, they are ideal for treating and preventing digestive disorders. The high fiber content in this fruit helps in regularizing your bowel movements, allowing proper digestion and the better absorption of nutrients by your body. It also helps in preventing digestive problems like constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Pears for diabetics
For people suffering from diabetes, it is extremely important to be careful about what they eat, because the food they eat plays a major role in controlling or worsening their condition. Foods rich in fiber are considered to be good for diabetics. Since pears are high in fiber, low in carbohydrates, low in calories and low in glycemic index, they form a healthy snack item for people with diabetes. The fiber in pears makes it a filling snack, controls your appetite and does not cause considerable fluctuations in your blood sugar levels.
Pears reduce cancer risk
The fiber in pears is considered to be highly beneficial in lowering your risks of colorectal cancer. It does this mainly by binding together the secondary bile acids and lowering its concentration in the intestine. In addition, the phytonutrients like cinnamic acids in pears are found to be capable of lowering gastric cancer risks. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the American Association of Retired Persons, pears were helpful in reducing the risk of esophageal cancer or esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
Pears for weight loss
Pears are considered to be one of the best natural weight loss foods. They can promote weight loss because they are low in calories and high in dietary fiber. The fiber in pears helps add bulk or volume to the foods that you consume, which in turn satiates your hunger. Since fiber makes you feeling full for a long time, it curbs your appetite, prevents overeating and aids in weight loss. A study published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research in March 2008 points out that the intake of vitamin C may assist in reducing body weight and deposition of fat. Pear is a rich source of vitamin C and also other nutrients that can promote not only weight loss, but also the overall improvement of your health.
Pears are anti-inflammatory
Pears have high amounts of phytonutrients that are known to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Because of this property, the regular intake of this fruit is useful in decreasing the risk of many chronic diseases that are caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. It also helps in reducing the pain associated with inflammation diseases like arthritis, gout, rheumatism, and other similar conditions.
Pear for throat problem
Drinking pear juice can cool your body and help relieve throat problems. Chinese pear juice along with honey is considered traditional remedy for healing throat and vocal chord. Drinking pear juice can help clear phlegm in respiratory tract and resulting respiratory disorder.
Pears improve your immune system
Pears are rich in many nutrients and powerful antioxidants that strengthen your immune system and protect your body by fighting off diseases. This fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C that helps in boosting your immune system by stimulating the production and functioning of your white blood cells.
Pears can boost your energy
Drinking the juice of pears can increase your energy because this fruit is loaded with natural sugars like glucose and fructose.
Benefits of Pears for bone health
Pears are a storehouse of many important minerals including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, and copper, that helps in improving the strength and health of your bones. They help in reducing bone mineral loss and in preventing conditions like osteoporosis that occurs due to weak and unhealthy state of your bones.
Pears speed up tissue repair and wound healing
Vitamin C is a very important factor that helps in tissue repair and regeneration. It also accelerates the process of wound healing. Pears contain plenty of vitamin C and so adding it to your regular diet can help in healing cuts, injuries and wounds. It also helps in repairing blood vessels that are damaged and prevents the development of many conditions like heart diseases.
Pears reduce the risks of birth defect in babies
Folic acid or folate is very important in preventing birth defects in babies and so it is extremely vital that pregnant ladies get adequate amounts of it in their diet. Pears happen to be a good source of folic acid. Eating a pear a day is a good way to get plenty of folate into the body of a pregnant woman.
Benefits of Pears for skin health
The nutrients and antioxidants are highly beneficial to your skin. Pears have good amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K and copper that are helpful in eliminating the free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and damage your skin. One of the negative effects of free radicals is that it causes premature aging. Regular intake of pears can fight off these effects and protect your skin from the signs of aging like wrinkles, fine line and dark spots. Pears also contain natural enzymes that can act as a good scrubbing and exfoliating agent. Applying mashed pears on the skin is a great way to remove dead cells and impurities and in getting glowing and beautiful looking skin. Lactic acid present in Pears are good for lips. It keeps lips hydrated and prevents dry lips.
Side effects of pear
Unlike many other fruits, pears are hypoallergenic, which means that they do not cause any allergic reactions. The biggest advantage is that even people who are severely allergic to many food items can enjoy pears without having to worry about any kind of side effects. Juicy and sweet, pears are really versatile and can be enjoyed both in the raw and in the cooked state. Being low in fat and low in calories with a low glycemic index, this fruit is a perfect choice for people who are really bothered about their calories intake. Plus, the health benefits of pears are so many that, it is definitely a fruit worth being added to your daily diet.
To get most out of this wonderful fruit, you must know how to select right pears and how to store them. Color, texture and fragrance helps in choosing right pear. Choose pear without dark spots and uniform color. Dark spots appear due to pressure on pear skin. Skin should be without damage. Pears should not be too firm or too soft. Gently press with your finger tips to feel the firmness.One can store ripe pears in refrigerator or if unripe may be left at room temperature for ripening. Keeping pears in lightly perforated bag slows down decaying or ripening. Pears can be eaten with whole skin. Just wash it before use. Eating entire pear provides necessary phtyonutrients in the skin. You can also enjoy it in dessert of salad. It tastes great with blue cheese or goat cheese.
Red wine poached pear Recipe
Red wine poached pear tastes great and is perfect option for cold winter nights. Sweetness is sort of amplified in red wine and with touch of cinnamon and vanilla, taste is just divine. Mix 1-2 cups red wine with ¾ cup of sugar, 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 2 tsp of vanilla and 2 tsp of cinnamon. Bring this mixture to boil and then simmer at low heat. Add to this 4-6 peeled pears and allow simmering for 10 minutes. Pears would be tender then and can be poked with fork. Remove pears to prevent cooking and allow them to cool. Boil the remaining mixture till the sauce is half the quantity. Pour this sauce over cooked pears and serve with some cream.
Pear and Ginger Muffins
Ginger intensifies sweet pear flavor and offers nice moist texture. In a large bowl, add 1¾ cups wheat flour, 2 tsp of baking powder, ½ cup of sugar, 1 tsp of ground ginger and mix well. In another bowl whisk together the 2/3 cup of sour cream, ½ cup of vegetable oil, 1 tbsp of honey and 2 eggs. Mix this with flour mixture. Mix 1-2 cups of small diced peeled and cored pear. Place this mixture in muffin tray and keep this in preheated oven at 1800C for 20 minutes. Remove when muffins are golden and baked well. Allow them to cool. (Ref: 1)Image Credits: Wikimedia - NobbiP, Flickr - Public Domain Photos, Flickr - Louis Chan, Open Source Food