The pear is one of the best known and cultivated fruits in the world, and also one of the most loved, since ancient times. Suffice it to say that the pear was the fruit sacred to Hera, the wife of Zeus, and to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, as due to its shape it was associated with fertility. Not only that, in Homer's Odyssey Ulysses admires the orchard of Alcinoo, the king of the Phaeacians, full of pears all year round thanks to the benevolence of the gods. In short, the pear looks like the fruit of the gods! And after all, it can really be said that the pear has earned this fame, for its juicy and tasty pulp, for its versatility, but also for its important healthy properties, which we will talk about today based on the most recent scientific studies.
The pear is the fruit, or rather the false fruit, of trees of the genus Pyrus of the Rosaceae family. The pear provides fiber, vitamins, such as vitamin C and vitamin K, mineral salts, such as potassium, calcium and copper (Reiland et al, Nutr Today, 2015). Not only that, the pear is also a precious source of antioxidants, such as arbutin, with an antibiotic action, chlorogenic acid, which improves cognitive function and reduces hypertension, caffeic acid, with an action against free radicals and capable of stimulating production of collagen, epicatechin and rutin, which counteract free radicals and inflammation and, as emerges from studies, also help reduce the risk of developing gastric ulcer (Li et al, Food Chem, 2014 - Reiland et al, Nutr Today, 2015).
Pears for heart health
Pears provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances that help regulate blood sugar but also lipid metabolism, with benefits for the cardiovascular system (Wang et al, Foods, 2022). Studies have shown that increasing even just one portion of pears a week leads to a 3% reduction in developing type 2 diabetes, with an even greater action if you choose to consume both pears and apples, which work synergistically (Guo et al, Food Function, 2017). Not only that, studies have shown that the intake of two pears a day helps, in three months, to reduce blood pressure values (Navaei et al, Food Funct, 2019).
Two pears a day…reduce waist circumference
Pears help fight visceral fat, the most dangerous of all types of fat accumulation in the body. In fact, visceral fat is not inert but releases hormones and increases inflammation levels and thus the risk of diabetes, of a weakened immune system, depression and cellular degeneration. Well, two pears a day allowed, in three months, to observe a significant reduction in waist circumference and visceral fat in volunteers (Navaei et al, Food Funct, 2019).
Pears against tumors
Pears, thanks to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action, also help fight tumors. In particular, the pears with the most powerful anticancer properties were found to be pears of the Conference variety, with a marked action against cellular degeneration affecting the bladder (Kolniak-Ostek et al, Molecules, 2020).
Pears and respiratory tract
Thanks to their ability to fight inflammation and free radicals, pears also protect the respiratory tract. In particular, the consumption of pears and apples is associated with a significant reduction in asthma symptoms and bronchial hyperreactivity to stimuli, such as allergens, dry or cold air. Not only that, pears, together with apples, if consumed regularly also help reduce the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in ex-smokers (Hong et al, BMC Complement Med Ther, 2021).
Cooked pears, the dessert against coughs and other ailments
The pear is a widely used remedy in case of cough, but also constipation and water retention. This is because the pear has antitussive, anti-inflammatory, mildly laxative and diuretic properties (Wang et al, Foods, 2022). An excellent healing dessert can be prepared with pears, as taught by the ancient Romans who loved to consume pears cooked with honey. Today we take inspiration from this recipe to make a tasty pear-based dessert, with a few small additions that make the dish even more anti-inflammatory, digestive and antioxidant. Take two well-washed pears, remove their core and cut them into slices. Cook the pears over low heat in a pot together with a spoonful of water for about ten minutes. Then add grated ginger, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, grated orange peel and a teaspoon of honey, mix and serve.
The peel of the pear, a source of antioxidants
Pears, preferably of organic origin, should be well washed and eaten with their peel. This is because the peel contains substances with an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action in quantities up to 20 times greater than pulp (Li et al, Food Chem, 2014).