Pears are sweet, bell-shaped fruits that have been enjoyed since ancient times. They can be eaten crisp or soft.
They’re not only delicious but also offer many health benefits backed by science.
Here are 9 impressive health benefits of pears.
Pears come in many different varieties. Bartlett, Bosc, and D’Anjou pears are among the most popular, but around 100 types are grown worldwide (1).
A medium-sized pear (178 grams) provides the following nutrients (2):
This same serving also provides small amounts of folate, provitamin A, and niacin. Folate and niacin are important for cellular function and energy production, while provitamin A supports skin health and wound healing (3, 4, 5).
Pears are likewise a rich source of important minerals, such as copper and potassium. Copper plays a role in immunity, cholesterol metabolism, and nerve function, whereas potassium aids muscle contractions and heart function (1, 6, 7, 8).
What’s more, these fruits are an excellent source of polyphenol antioxidants, which protect against oxidative damage. Be sure to eat the whole pear, as the peel boasts up to six times more polyphenols than the flesh (9, 10).
Summary Pears are especially rich
in folate, vitamin C, copper, and potassium. They’re also a good source of
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Pears are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which are essential for digestive health. These fibers help maintain bowel regularity by softening and bulking up stool (11).
One medium-sized pear (178 grams) packs 6 grams of fiber — 22% of your daily fiber needs (2, 12).
Additionally, soluble fibers feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. As such, they’re considered prebiotics, which are associated with healthy aging and improved immunity (12).
Notably, fiber may help relieve constipation. In a 4-week study, 80 adults with this condition received 24 grams of pectin — the kind of fiber found in fruit — per day. They experienced constipation relief and increased levels of healthy gut bacteria (13).
As pear skin contains a substantial amount of fiber, it’s best to eat this fruit unpeeled (2).
Summary Pears offer dietary
fiber, including prebiotics, which promotes bowel regularity, constipation
relief, and overall digestive health. To get the most fiber from your pear, eat
it with the skin on.
Pears offer many beneficial plant compounds that give these fruits their different hues.
For instance, anthocyanins lend a ruby-red hue to some pears. These compounds may improve heart health and strengthen blood vessels (14, 15).
Though specific research on pear anthocyanins is needed, numerous population studies suggest that a high intake of anthocyanin-rich foods like berries is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease (16).
Pears with green skin feature lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds necessary to keep your vision sharp, especially as you age (17).
Again, many of these beneficial plant compounds are concentrated in the skin (15, 18, 19).
Summary Pears harbor many
beneficial plant compounds. Those in red pears may protect heart health, while
those in green pears may promote eye health.
Although inflammation is a normal immune response, chronic or long-term inflammation can harm your health. It’s linked to certain illnesses, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes (20).
Pears are a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants, which help fight inflammation and may decrease your risk of disease (14).
Several large reviews tie high flavonoid intake to a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. This effect may be due to these compounds’ anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (21, 22, 23).
What’s more, pears pack several vitamins and minerals, such as copper and vitamins C and K, which also combat inflammation (6, 24, 25).
Summary Pears are a rich source
of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and
protect against certain diseases.
Pears contain various compounds that may exhibit anticancer properties. For example, their anthocyanin and cinnamic acid contents have been shown to fight cancer (15, 26, 27).
A few studies indicate that diets rich in fruits, including pears, may protect against some cancers, including those of the lung, stomach, and bladder (28, 29).
Some population studies suggest that flavonoid-rich fruits like pears may also safeguard against breast and ovarian cancers, making this fruit a particularly smart choice for women (30, 31, 32).
While eating more fruit may reduce your cancer risk, more research is needed. Pears should not be considered a replacement for cancer treatment.
Summary Pears contain many potent
plant compounds that may have cancer-fighting properties. However, more research
Pears — particularly red varieties — may help decrease diabetes risk.
One large study in over 200,000 people found that eating 5 or more weekly servings of anthocyanin-rich fruits like red pears was associated with a 23% lower risk of type 2 diabetes (33, 34).
Additionally, a mouse study noted that plant compounds, including anthocyanins, in pear peel exhibited both anti-diabetes and anti-inflammatory effects (35).
What’s more, the fiber in pears slows digestion, giving your body more time to break down and absorb carbs. This can also help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially helping prevent and control diabetes (11).
Summary Pears may help reduce
your risk of type 2 diabetes due to their fiber and anthocyanin contents.
Pears may lower your risk of heart disease.
Their procyanidin antioxidants may decrease stiffness in heart tissue, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol (36, 37, 38).
The peel contains an important antioxidant called quercetin, which is thought to benefit heart health by decreasing inflammation and reducing heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels (39, 40).
One study in 40 adults with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that increases your heart disease risk, found that eating 2 medium pears each day for 12 weeks lowered heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and waist circumference (41).
A large, 17-year study in over 30,000 women revealed that every daily 80-gram portion of fruit decreased heart disease risk by 6–7%. For context, 1 medium pear weighs around 178 grams (2, 42).
Furthermore, regular intake of pears and other white-fleshed fruits is thought to lower stroke risk. One 10-year study in over 20,000 people determined that every 25 grams of white-fleshed fruit eaten daily decreased stroke risk by 9% (43).
Summary Pears are rich in potent
antioxidants, such as procyanidins and quercetin, that can boost heart health
by improving blood pressure and cholesterol. Eating pears regularly may also
reduce stroke risk.
Pears are low in calories, high in water, and packed with fiber. This combination makes them a weight-loss-friendly food, as fiber and water can help keep you full.
When full, you’re naturally less prone to keep eating.
In one 12-week study, 40 adults who ate 2 pears daily lost up to 1.1 inches (2.7 cm) off their waist circumference (41).
Plus, a 10-week study found that women who added 3 pears per day to their usual diet lost an average of 1.9 pounds (0.84 kg). They also saw improvements in their lipid profile, a marker of heart health (44).
Summary Eating pears regularly
may help you feel full because of their high amounts of water and fiber. In
turn, this may help you lose weight.
Pears are available year-round and easy to find in most grocery stores.
Eaten whole — with a handful of nuts if you choose — they make a great snack. It’s also easy to add them to your favorite dishes, such as oatmeal, salads, and smoothies.
Popular cooking methods include roasting and poaching. Pears complement chicken or pork especially well. They likewise pair nicely with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, cheeses like Gouda and brie, and ingredients like lemon and chocolate.
However you choose to eat them, remember to include the skin to get the most nutrients.
Summary Pears are widely
available and easy to add to your diet. You can eat them whole with the skin on
or incorporate them into main dishes. These fruits are especially delicious
when roasted or poached.
Pears are a powerhouse fruit, packing fiber, vitamins, and beneficial plant compounds.
These nutrients are thought to fight inflammation, promote gut and heart health, protect against certain diseases, and even aid weight loss.
Just be sure to eat the peel, as it harbors many of this fruit’s nutrients.