Beautiful in shape and colour, pears are not just attractive fruits to look at, but come with plenty of health benefits as well. Fruits are often recommended as part of a healthy diet, and while most of them are nutritious, some should be consumed in moderation due to their high sugar content. Pears, on the other hand, are usually an excellent choice, loaded with health benefits.
Pears come in yellow, green, red and brown, or some combination of them all. They are sweet and juicy with a soft, buttery texture, along with a mild grainy flesh. Most of them are bell shaped, but they can be round as well. Pears are can be helpful in lowering cholesterol levels, and the juice of the pear is good for infants too, as they have a very mild flavour.
Amongst the different varieties of pears in the market, the one with the most medicinal properties is the Chinese pear. Although pears can be found throughout the year, they are usually in season from June to February.
Pears are an excellent source of water-soluble fibre. Pears contain vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, folic acid and niacin. They are also rich in copper, phosphorus and potassium. They contain moderate amounts of calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, sodium and sulphur. Some varieties of pear have richer iron content, especially those that turn brown quickly. The skin of the pear contains fiber and cholorogenic acid.
There are many different varieties of pears in the market. Some of the most common are:
Bosc - They are tan to brown in colour with a long tapered neck. They are less juicy compared to other pear varieties.
Anjou - Yellow-green and oval in shape, anjou pears are relatively bland and are usually available during winter.
Bartlett - With bright yellow skin and a sweet juice, they are usually available from summer to fall.
Comice - Fuller and rounder with green skin, they are among the best tasting, sweet and juicy. They are available in the late fall through December.
Concorde - Tall with an elongated neck and a golden green skin, they have dense flesh and a sweet flavor with a hint of vanilla.
Benefits of the fruit
Pears are packed with lots of good for the body. Here’s a look at some of them:
• Pears are filled with antioxidants and the anti-carcinogen glutathione, which are effective in maintaining blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke. They are also excellent in building up the immune system.
• The high pectin content in pears helps lower cholesterol levels, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
• Pear juice is an excellent source of energy, due to the high levels of fructose and glucose content.
• Pear juice also has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, and helps relieve inflammatory pain. The juice is also effective in alleviating throat problems.
• Drinking pear juice every morning and night in summer has an instant cooling effect on your body.
• Boron is a beneficial ingredient found in pears, which helps retain calcium in the body, thus treating the effects of osteoporosis.
• The pectin in pears makes it a mild laxative. Regular drinking of pear juice helps regulate bowel movements, and it is especially good for people suffering from constipation.
• Pears have a low glycemic index, which means it’s digested and absorbed more slowly. This stimulates a gradual increase in blood glucose and insulin levels. Foods with a low glycemic are recommended to help prevent coronary heart disease and obesity, and manage diabetes.
There you have it... a lengthy list of benefits of the simple pear! But even if you don’t have a particular health problem, pick one up and give it a crunch for its delightful taste. It’s a sweet choice.