8 Powerful Health Benefits of Pears

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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Pears are fruits savored for their delicious flavor since ancient times. The proven health benefits of pears include their ability to aid in weight loss, improve digestion, boost heart health, and help regulate blood pressure. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber and antioxidants.

What are Pears?

Pears are delicious and sweet pomaceous fruits with juicy flesh. The term “pear” actually describes several trees and bushes in the genus Pyrus, of the larger family Rosaceae. There is a wide variety of pear trees but only a few of them bear edible fruits that can be consumed by humans; many pear varieties are only used as decorative trees and shrubs. To read more on the different types of edible pears, you can head over to 8 Amazing Types Of Pears.

A sack of fresh green pears on a wooden table

Pears are a low-cal, high-fiber fruit favored in weight management programs. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Pears are thought to have originated in China and are native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. They have been a part of many diets for thousands of years, and have been found in Celtic literature, Roman history, and Chinese lore. They can grow easily in places with temperate, cool climates that make them very versatile and easy to cultivate.

Nutrition Facts

Pears, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]83.96
Energy [kcal]57
Energy [kJ]239
Protein [g]0.36
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.14
Ash [g]0.32
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]15.23
Fiber, total dietary [g]3.1
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]9.75
Sucrose [g]0.71
Glucose (dextrose) [g]2.6
Fructose [g]6.42
Calcium, Ca [mg]9
Iron, Fe [mg]0.18
Magnesium, Mg [mg]7
Phosphorus, P [mg]12
Potassium, K [mg]116
Sodium, Na [mg]1
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.1
Copper, Cu [mg]0.08
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.05
Selenium, Se [µg]0.1
Fluoride, F [µg]2.2
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]4.3
Thiamin [mg]0.01
Riboflavin [mg]0.03
Niacin [mg]0.16
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.05
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.03
Folate, total [µg]7
Folate, food [µg]7
Folate, DFE [µg]7
Choline, total [mg]5.1
Betaine [mg]0.2
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]1
Carotene, beta [µg]14
Carotene, alpha [µg]1
Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]2
Vitamin A, IU [IU]25
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]44
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.12
Tocopherol, gamma [mg]0.03
Tocotrienol, alpha [mg]0.02
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]4.4
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.02
16:0 [g]0.02
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.08
16:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.08
20:1 [g]0
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.09
18:2 [g]0.09
18:3 [g]0
Phytosterols [mg]8
Tryptophan [g]0
Threonine [g]0.01
Isoleucine [g]0.01
Leucine [g]0.02
Lysine [g]0.02
Methionine [g]0
Cystine [g]0
Phenylalanine [g]0.01
Tyrosine [g]0
Valine [g]0.02
Arginine [g]0.01
Histidine [g]0
Alanine [g]0.01
Aspartic acid [g]0.11
Glutamic acid [g]0.03
Glycine [g]0.01
Proline [g]0.02
Serine [g]0.02
Sources include : USDA

Nutritional Value of Pears

One medium pear contains 101 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrates, and 5.5 grams of fiber, according to the USDA. Pears also contain active and effective components including potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, phenolic compounds, folate, dietary fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, as well as B-complex vitamins.

Health Benefits of Pears

Let us look at the most important health benefits of pears in detail.

May Promote Gut Health

A 2015 study suggested that the phenolic content in the peel of Bartlett and Starkrimson pears and fermented pear juice may play a vital role in promoting gut health. Researchers found that these fruits help slow the growth of harmful bacteria such as H. pylori without influencing beneficial bacteria with probiotic potential.

Rich Source of Fiber

A study published in Nutrition Today led by Dr. Joanne Slavin, who is a professor at the University of Minnesota, concludes that fruits like pears are extremely great sources of dietary fiber. They contain 71 percent insoluble fiber and 29 percent soluble fiber.

While a single serving of pears provides 18% of the daily requirement for fiber intake, they can be a very strong agent for improving digestive health too. Most of the fiber is a non-soluble polysaccharide (NSP), which means that it acts as a bulking agent in the intestines. This fiber accumulates the food and adds bulk so it is easier for the food to pass through the intestines. It also regulates bowel movements and reduces the chances of constipation, as well as diarrhea and loose stool.

Weight Loss

Pears are one of the lowest-calorie fruits, with a medium pear containing just over 100 calories, which is about 5 to 10 percent of most healthy calorie-restricted diets. They are also low energy density food with high water content, which is why they are considered a healthy option for weight loss. A clinical trial analyzed the data of 49 women, between the ages of 30 to 50, who were told to include three of either – apples, pears, or oat cookies – to their usual diet for 10 weeks. The women who ate apples or pears saw a reduction in weight whereas the women who ate oat cookies saw no weight change. All three food items have the same amount of fiber and calories but differed in energy density.

Antioxidant Activity

Like many other fruits, pears are a wealth of antioxidants like vitamin C that combat various diseases and conditions within the body. A 2003 research study on the antioxidant activity of pear has revealed that pear fruits contain a remarkable amount of vitamin C and chlorogenic acid. Antioxidant components of vitamin C, vitamin A, and flavonoid compounds like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which are found in pears can help rid the body of free radicals.

Anticancer Potential

Antioxidants are often praised for their anti-carcinogenic activities; pears, being a houseful of antioxidants, have been connected to the prevention of cancer. Some researchers found that the intake of pears as part of the larger product food grouping was inversely linked to the risk of lung cancer in men. Another study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that fruits like pears may contribute to helping lower lung cancer risk.

Boost Immunity

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a comprehensive study suggesting the benefits of vitamin C above the recommended daily intake for health benefits like boosting immunity. Pears are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C are beneficial for stimulating white blood cell production. They also boost the immune system, which helps to eliminate conditions like the common cold, flu, and other mild illnesses.

Improve Heart Health

A 2019 study published in the Current Developments in Nutrition journal showed a positive link between eating apples, pears, or combining apples and pears with a decreased risk of cardiovascular and cardiometabolic diseases such as coronary disease and diabetes.

Also, pears are a wonderful source of potassium. They can have a significant impact on heart health because potassium is a well-known vasodilator (lowering blood pressure). Dr. Susanna Larsson from the National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Sweden, has published research indicating the inverse relationship between stroke risk and fruit and vegetable intake. Notably, among the fruit and vegetable categories, apples, pears, and green leafy vegetables were linked with decreased risk of stroke.

Health benefits of pears infographic

Not just an apple, but a pear a day can also keep the doctor away.

Reduce Inflammation

The antioxidant and flavonoid components of the fruit can induce anti-inflammatory effects in the body, reducing the pain and swelling associated with inflammation. This includes the reduction in symptoms of arthritis, rheumatic conditions, gout, and similar conditions.

Word of Caution: There are no known interactions or health risks with the fruit. However, if you have an allergy to pears or other fruits, be mindful before enjoying them.

So enjoy your pears with nut butter, in salads, or grill them and savor them with ice cream. The traditionalists would say enjoy it as is and bite into its juicy goodness.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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