The pear is the fruit of the Pyrus trees of the Rosaceae family, one of the oldest plants cultivated by humans. The pear is delicious and versatile, it can be taken both as fresh fruit and in the form of candied fruit, jams or juices. But the strength of the pear is that it is also a powerful source of health! Let's see its properties, proven by scientific studies.
The pear is rich in fiber, therefore useful for the proper functioning of the intestine. But a healthy intestine does not only determine good digestion, the whole body benefits from it with positive effects on the immune system, mood and body weight. The pear then provides vitamins, such as C, especially concentrated in its peel, vitamins of group B, K, and in small quantities also A, and mineral salts, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium (USDA database). In addition to this, the pear also provides antioxidants, useful to counteract the damages of free radicals, and is anti-inflammatory (Reiland et al, Nutr Today, 2015). A recent scientific research has also observed that the daily intake of two medium-sized pears reduced the blood pressure values and the measurement of the waist circumference of the participants to the study in 12 weeks with benefits for the health of the cardiovascular system (Navaei et al, Food Funct, 2019). And it does not end here, in fact, eating pears, as well as apples, is inversely proportional to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the typical diabetes of adulthood (Guo et al, Food Funct, 2017). Finally, pears are diuretic and a source of malic acid, a precursor of citrate, which is a substance capable of inhibiting the formation of crystals in the urinary tract. Therefore, the pear is also useful to prevent, or at least reduce, the formation of stones in those who are predisposed (Manfredini et al, Eur rev Med Pharmacol Sci, 2016).
Pears, with or without peel?
Where possible, it would be good to eat the whole pear, keeping the peel. Clearly the origin of the pears in this case should be organic, not only that, the fruits have also to be well washed under running water. But why is the peel so important? Because peeling pears leads to a 25% drop in both antioxidants and ascorbic acid. As for the type of antioxidants, the peel of the pears with a coloring tending to red contains anthocyanins, antioxidant substances useful to protect the brain but also able to help prevent cardiovascular diseases, tumors, diabetes and inflammation (Yousuf et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2016). While the green peel contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two anti-free radical substances very important for eye health and for preventing diseases and degeneration of the retina (Bernstein et al, Prog Retin Eye Res., 2017). Therefore, pears are very healthy and interesting fruits, perfect to be eaten for breakfast in a yogurt or as a mid-morning snack, perhaps taken together with a handful of dried fruit.