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Pears are full of rich flavor, sweetness and crunchiness. Even though the texture is similar to an apple, pears are just as juicy as nectarines or peaches.
Pears are generally categorized into Asian or European pear groups. Asian pears are crunchy and do not change once harvested or stored, while European pears tend to get juicy and soft after ripening.
There are many health benefits associated with pears due to their high nutritional content including minerals, fiber, antioxidants and vitamins. 100g of pear has 3.1g of fiber.
A high fiber diet also helps lower cholesterol levels. Those with diabetes can snack on pears due to their low glycemic index. The average pear contains 26 grams of carbohydrates, which prevent the blood sugar level from spiking and help maintain levels of blood glucose.
Pears have high contents of vitamins A, B2, B3, C and K, along with important nutrients including copper, calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Copper and vitamin C help boost the immune system and prevent cancer. The antioxidants found in pears help protect cells against free radicals.
They also happen to be one of the easiest fruits to digest and are known as a hypoallergenic fruit. Unlike citrus fruits, pears have low acidity. Those who experience sensitivities to fruits are able to eat pears without bad effects. Pears are often one of the first pureed fruits given to infants.
Like apple, pears are part of the rose family. Many of the health benefits associated with pears are found in the skin of the fruit. The skin of pears contains the antioxidant Quercetin. Quercetin helps prevent cancer and heart problems such as artery damage. Cornell University conducted a study that found pear skins offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease. Pears should be eaten with the skin in order to get the maximum health benefits.
It is easy to find pears throughout the year since there are many varieties available. Alternatively, dried pieces are also easy to find. Pears should be bright, firm and fresh upon purchase. Avoid buying fruits that have marks on their skin. Pears are best eaten fresh, though they can be refrigerated for a couple days. They should be washed under cold water in order to remove any residues of fungicide or pesticide.