The best ways to enjoy the health benefits of pears

October 9, 2015

Called the butter fruit by many Europeans in reference to its smooth texture, a pear makes an ideal snack, dessert or even a sweet or spicy side dish. Here the best ways to enjoy the health benefits of pears.

The best ways to enjoy the health benefits of pears

Benefits of pears

  • One medium-size (170 gram or six ounce) pear has about 100 calories and provides about five grams of fibre.
  • There are two kinds of fibre in pears: pectin, a soluble fibre that helps control blood cholesterol levels, and cellulose, an insoluble fibre that promotes normal bowel function.
  • Pears also have useful amounts of vitamin C, folate and potassium.
  • The peels of pears contain high amounts of phenolic phytonutrients, which are rich in antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory.
  • The pear's skin contains around half of the pear's total fibre content.

Best ways to eat pears

  • Dried pears provide a more concentrated form of calories and nutrients than fresh pears. Their high sugar content and sticky texture may promote tooth decay.
  • Most dried pears also contain sulphites, which can provoke asthma or an allergic response in susceptible individuals.
  • Canned pears lose most of their vitamin C due to the combined effect of peeling and heating.
  • Canned pears are also higher in calories, especially if they are packed in heavy syrup.
  • Pears are a delicious treat when served fresh, but they can also be baked, poached or sautéed.

Types of pears

While there are hundreds of varieties of pears in North America, four types predominate:

  • Anjou, a juicy, oval-shaped winter pear that has a yellowish green skin.
  • Bartlett, a summer pear that is eaten fresh or canned.
  • Bosc, a slender necked pear with a firm, crunchy texture that makes it ideal for baking and poaching.
  • Comice, a green-skinned variety that is considered the sweetest and tastiest winter pear.
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