What are pears?
Pears are a sweet fruit, a little larger than an apple in size and have a slightly thinner top half and rounded bottom giving them their ‘pear-shape’. They typically have yellow-green skin on the outside, and a white, soft flesh on the inside, all of which is edible. There is a small core which is more fibrous and often inedible.
Pears are in season in the UK between September and October.
Discover our full range of health benefit guides and check out some of our favourite pear recipes, from our Griddled pears with goat’s cheese and hazelnut dressing to our flourless chocolate and pear cake.
An 80g serving provides:
34Kcal / 146 KJ
An 80g serving counts as one of your five-a-day, which is about one medium-sized fruit. Check out our printable infographic to find out what else counts towards your 5-a-day.
Top 5 health benefits
1. May support gut health
Pears are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, there is growing evidence of the importance of fibre and the role it may play in the health of our gut microbiota (the community of bacteria that live in our intestines) and in preventing obesity and type 2 diabetes.
2. May lower the risk of type 2 diabetes
A study looking at the benefits of flavonoids, including the anthocyanins found in fruit like pears, suggests regular consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
3. May help weight management
Pears are low in calories and high in fibre and water which helps to keep you feeling full. A study investigating the effects of adding fruit, such as apples or pears, to the diet versus oats, found fruit helped reduce energy consumption and body weight over time.
4. May support heart health
Pears are rich in beneficial flavonoids that support the heart by improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In particular, a study looking at fruit intake, such as pears, found an association with improved blood lipids in women, suggesting a diet rich in these plant compounds may have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health. Further studies suggest that consuming fruit and vegetables and in particular, fruit such as apple and pears, is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI), a reduced risk of stroke and a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
5. May have cancer protective properties
Are pears safe for everyone?
Some people are allergic to pears – most notably, those with an allergy to the birch pollen group of plants. Signs of an allergy normally develop within minutes and can include itching of the mouth or throat, red patches on the skin or a cough and you should see your GP if you experience an adverse reaction.
If more serious symptoms develop such as difficulty breathing, light-headedness or blue lips then this is a severe reaction, known as anaphylaxis, and requires immediate medical attention.
Read more from the NHS about allergic reactions.
Pears are relatively high in fructose and sorbitol, natural sugars which some people find hard to absorb. In such people pears may initiate irritable bowel-like symptoms.
Healthy pear recipes
This article was reviewed on 28th July 2021 by Kerry Torrens.
Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT is a registered nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in personalised nutrition & nutritional therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
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