Pear consumption potentially improves gut health, setting the stage for further evidence of associated health benefits, indicate recent in vitro, animal, clinical and epidemiologic studies.
To explore the potential health benefits associated with pear consumption and related health outcomes, Joanne Slavin of the University of Minnesota, assisted by food science graduate Holly Reiland, conducted a systematic review of studies from PubMed (database of the National Library of Medicine with citations and abstracts of biomedical literature) and Agricola (database of the National Agricultural Library with citations of agricultural literature) from 1970 to present.
Pears are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of vitamin C for only 100 calories per serving. One medium pear provides about 24 percent of daily fiber needs. They are sodium-free, cholesterol-free, fat-free and contain 190 mg of potassium. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and CNPP MyPlate advise people who eat more fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to reduce their risk of some chronic diseases, although little is published on the health outcomes associated with individual fruits, including pears.
According to Slavin, an epidemiologic cohort study conducted by Larsson et al.2 found, among individual fruit and vegetable subgroups, inverse associations with total stroke and the consumption of pears, along with apples and leafy green vegetables. In a meta-analysis of twenty prospective cohort studies Hu et al.3 found apples/pears, citrus fruits and leafy vegetables might contribute to stroke protection. An epidemiologic study conducted by Wedick et al.4 linked the consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods, particularly pears, apples and blueberries, with lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.
An additional epidemiologic study via Mink et al.5 indicated flavonoid-rich foods including pears were associated with a significant reduction in mortality from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. The study is published in Nutrition Today.