Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nutritional Benefits of Pears

All fruits have high nutritional value as they contain good amount of vitamins and minerals and pear is one of the healthiest fruit available. It is a sweet juicy yellow or green fruit with a rounded shape that becomes narrower towards the stalk. They have very delicate flavor and they are soft that they melt the moment one puts them in the mouth; because of this “melt in mouth” nature of pears they are also called “butter fruit” all over the world. Pears are grown throughout the world and there are 3000 different varieties of pear grown all over the world.

There are mainly eight varieties of pears, including green, yellow/ gold, brown and red color, that come with distinctive character, texture and flavor. They are mostly eaten raw and taste great in desserts.

The pear tree can grow up to 20m high. Pear is one of the few fruits that do not mature well if left to ripen on the tree; so pears are picked up from the trees when they are almost ripened and left at room temperature to ripen fully. The thumb test is used to check if pear is ripened for delicious eating with its full flavored sweetness or not. For this, gentle thumb pressure near the base of the stem is applied, if it presses slightly, pear is ripe and ready to eat. When ripe, pear tastes sweet, buttery, and tender and is filled with juice. It should be noted that if a firm unripen pear is put in refrigerator, it won’t ripen and would lead to wastage. Pears have a shelf life of two to three days after they are ripened.

Pears are eaten after gently washing the skin by running it under water and patting it dry. The skin provides almost half of the recommended dietary allowance of the dietary fiber; it is recommended that peel of the pear fruit should be consumed with the entire fruit.

Once cut, pears will oxidize and will form a brown colored layer over it. To prevent browning, few drops of lemon or orange juice can be sprinkled over the fruit

Nutritional Facts

Amount per 100 grams of Pear-

Calories - 57 Kcal
Total fat - 0.1 g
Saturated fat - 0g
Polyunsaturated fat - 0.1g
Monounsaturated fat - 0.1g
Cholesterol - 0 mg
Sodium - 0.1 mg
Potassium - 116 mg
Dietary fiber - 3.1 g
Sugar - 10 g
Protein - 0.4 g
Vitamin C - 7 mg

Serving Ideas

Pear smoothie: Mix yogurt, pears, granulated sugar, milk and experience richness of fibre, calcium and Vitamin C.

Pear and grilled cheese sandwich: Mix cheddar cheese, pears, whole grain mustard, unsalted butter for filling and stuff into whole wheat bread. Enjoy the delicacy.

Pear, avocado and shrimp salad: Dice all three main ingredients – pear, avocado and shrimps. Add a dash of olive oil and lemon juice, salt to taste. Enjoy a delicious salad in all seasons.

Pear waffles

Pear squash

Pear pancakes

Health Benefits of Pears

Reduced Cancer Risk: Excessive amount of bile acids in the intestine can increase risk of colorectal cancer as well as intestinal problems. Fiber in pears has a tendency to get attached to bile acid; particularly secondary bile acids preventing the risk of colon cancer. Also phytonutrients present in pears help lower the risk of gastric cancer. A study conducted by National Institute of Health and the American Association of Retired persons involving 490802 participants, has revealed that pears when consumed also help reducing the risk of esophageal cancer.

Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases: Pear fibers have the ability to bind with bile acids in the intestine and reduce the pool of bile acid, which in turn decreases the synthesis of cholesterol. A study has revealed that pear’s capacity to bind to bile acids when compared to cholesterol lowering drug cholestyramine is about 5 percent of the ability of the drug to accomplish the result. Amongst other fruits which are commonly consumed, only bananas and pineapples showed more bile acid with their binding ability being 9 percent and 6 percent respectively.

Reduced Risk of Type -2 Diabetes Mellitus: As pears have adequate amount of soluble and insoluble fiber, consumption of this fruit helps in lowering the risk of diabetes. Several studies have shown that flavonols, flavon-3-ols, and anthocyanins present in the pear help in improving insulin sensitivity and hence regulate the levels of glucose in the body in the proper way.

Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties: A study on aging found that pear has been ranked as the second highest source of flavonols among all fruits and vegetables, partly due to epicatechin richness of the fruit. All these components present in the pear have antioxidant properties and also enhance anti-inflammatory support. As a result consumption of pears has now been associated with decreased risk of several common chronic diseases that starts with chronic inflammation and excessive oxidation stress. Some of the phytonutrients present in pear fruit are hydroxybenzoic acids, hydroxycinnamic acids, hydroxyquinones, flavanols (also called as Flavon-3-ols), flavonols, and carotenoids.

High Amount of Vitamin C: Pears contain high amounts of vitamin C which is an antioxidant. Hence consumption of pears leads to prevention of scurvy caused by deficiency of vitamin C. Vitamin C also has tissue building properties and therefore works well in healing of wounds and cuts.

Hypoallergenic Properties: Sometimes pear is the first fruit to be introduced to an infant as it is considered to be less allergenic than other fruits and food items. Pears have low amounts of salicylates and benzoates, so are recommended to allergy sufferers.

Laxative: Pears work as a very good laxative and are known to ease constipation. High amounts of dietary fibers in the peel of pear fruit works well on the digestion system and increase the bowel movement as well.

Fat Free and Cholesterol Free: Including pears in one's diet in place of higher fat foods may decrease overall intake of fat and cholesterol hence cutting down many associated risk of various diseases. So, it can be concluded that pear fruit has myriad of benefits if consumed on a regular basis. This delicacy should be included in the diet and its benefits should be enjoyed by each and every person.

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