The pear, which is in season most of the winter, packs itself with many health benefits. Pears are high in fiber, high in vitamins and minerals and most people find they are absolutely delicious.
Believe it or not, but many of the nutrients found in pears are actually concentrated in the skin. Recent studies have shown that the skin of pears contains at least three to four times as many phenolic phytonutrients as the flesh. These phytonutrients include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and potentially anti-cancer phytonutrients like cinnamic acids. The skin of the pear has also been shown to contain about half of the pear’s total dietary fiber. Before consuming, make sure the pears have been washed thoroughly. It is important to note that pears are not included in the Environmental Working Group’s 2014 report “2014 Dirty Dozen Plus” as one of the 12 foods most frequently containing pesticide residues. I highly recommend choosing organic or locally grown pears that are grown using organic standards.
Pears come in a variety of colors and shapes. The list below describes some of the more commonly enjoyed varieties of pears:
- Bartlett: best known of the pear varieties in the U.S., and most often the variety found in cans. Bartletts, sometimes called Williams pears, are yellow/green and speckled.
- Bosc: cinnamon brown-skinned pears with long tapered necks with a honey-like but complex flavor.
- Comice: round, short pears with either green and red coloring, or sometimes almost completely red with especially soft and juicy flesh.
- Concorde: tall, skinny, and golden/green pears with flesh that is firmer and more dense than many other varieties.
- Forelle: red/green and speckled like a trout, and thus the name, meaning “trout” in German. A small-sized pear that yellows as it ripens.
- Green Anjou: a widely available, compact, and short-necked pear. It doesn’t change color much while ripening.
- Red Anjou: very much like its green counterpart, except a rich reddish maroon in color and higher in anthocyanins (which is the main reason for its rich red color).
- Red Bartlett: very much like its yellow/green counterpart, except with an all-round bright red skin, they sometimes feature light vertical striping, and like Red Anjou, they are rich in anthocyanins.
- Seckel: smallest of the commonly eaten pears, usually yellow/green or olive green in color, and mixed with broad patches of red.
- Starkrimson: bright crimson red color, more narrow-necked that Red Anjou, but equally rich in anthocyanins and especially beautiful in a salad.
Health Benefits of Pears
- decreases risk of diabetes
- decreases risk of heart disease
- reduces cancer risk
- low in acid
- easy to digest
- hypoallergenic fruit
- ranks #2 in highest flavonols in fruits & veggies
- high in phytonutrients
- aids in weight loss
- supports healthy digestion
- skin of pears contains at least 3 to 4 times as many phenolic phytonutrients as the flesh
- low on glycemic index
- high in fiber
- good source of potassium
- AHA reports that eating one pear a day can reduce risk of stroke by as much as 52 percent
Pear-Quinoa Salad Recipe
Ingredients (use organic ingredients)
1 14-ounce can organic vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tbls fruity vinegar, such as pear, raspberry or pomegranate
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 ripe but firm pears, diced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in quinoa, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa has popped, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk oil, vinegar, chives, salt & pepper in a large bowl. Add pears and toss to coat.
Drain any excess liquid from the cooked quinoa, if necessary. Add the quinoa to the pear mixture; toss to combine. Transfer to the fridge to cool for about 15 minutes or serve warm. Serve topped with nuts.
Recipe via: www.eatingwell.com
References & Research
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- The World’s Healthiest Foods. www.whfoods.com