Pears are often overlooked in the produce aisle, but this unassuming fruit should be a part of your healthy eating plan.
You might not realize just how nutritious it is – it’s chock full of fiber and nutrients, and research shows that eating pears could have a role in preventing cardiovascular disease and diabetes, among other ailments.
As a bonus, pears are affordable and found in nearly every food store – you won’t have to go hunting for exotic, expensive fruit to get these health benefits. If you care about healthy eating (and I’m sure you do!), here are five reasons why should be loading pears into your grocery cart every time you go food shopping.
1. They’re a great source of fiber
A single medium-sized pear provides six grams of fiber, which is 15 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for men and 25 percent for women, according to recommendations from the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Institutes of Health.
But most of us aren’t even getting half the fiber we need – and that’s a problem, because research has found that adequate fiber intake is associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Adding fruits and vegetables like pears to your diet is the easiest way to up your fiber intake.
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2. Pears have vitamin C
You get 12 percent of your RDA for vitamin C when you eat a pear – it’s not as strong a source of the vitamin as citrus fruit, but it’s definitely notable and a great alternative for people who don’t like oranges or drink juice.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and research shows that higher intakes of the vitamin are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University.
3. They fill you up on vitamin K
Vitamin K doesn’t get much attention, but it’s key to our health: It plays an important role in helping our blood coagulate, or clot, properly. A vitamin K deficiency is rare, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports, but it can result from antibiotic use, particularly if you’re already low in the vitamin.
Others with conditions like celiacs or Crohn’s that make it difficult to absorb nutrients could be low in vitamin K. One pear provides you with 10 percent of your RDA for this underappreciated nutrient.
4. Pears have potassium
If you don’t like bananas, how are you supposed to get potassium? Pears are an option. A medium-sized one has 6 percent of your RDA. Our bodies don’t store potassium, so it’s important to consume it daily in our diets.
Potassium plays an important role in muscle contraction – including that of our most important muscle, the heart – and getting enough potassium is important for reducing blood pressure and preventing cardiovascular disease. That’s healthy eating!
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5. They’re a great source of flavonols
Pears and apples were found to be the top contributors of flavonols, a type of flavonoids, in the diet as reported in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. There is a lot we don’t yet know about how plant compounds like flavonols work in our body, but we do know that they’re antioxidants and help promote good cardiovascular health.
All plant foods are associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. Eating a variety of foods is a good way to ensure you’re getting your full complement of nutrients. Start including pears in your healthy eating plan –they’re juicy, flavorful and have so much to offer!