Five reasons why a pear a day is good for your body
Miles Rowland explains the benefits of regularly tucking into these tasty fruits
Pears are sweet, juicy and the perfect way to satiate an after-dinner sweet tooth - but did you know they're also an unsung hero in the fruit world?
Move over apples; when it comes to overall health, a pear a day may just keep the doctor away too, thanks to their impressive vitamin and mineral content.
They're delicious eaten on their own, but these green fruits are also incredibly versatile, and can be baked into desserts, tossed in salads and paired with strong-tasting cheeses.
Here, Lily Soutter, a leading London nutritionist (www.lilysoutternutrition.com), reveals some of the great health benefits of doing just that.
1. They are great for digestion
Pears contain high levels of dietary fibre - as much as 6g in one medium-sized fruit.
"Consumption of dietary fibre is key for digestive health and preventing constipation," says Soutter. "What's more, raw pear is 84% water, so if you struggle to stay hydrated throughout the day, this tasty snack can be a way of increasing your intake."
2. They can help with weight management
While the calorie content of some fruits - such as dates and avocados - can put some people off, there is no such issue with pears.
"Not only do pears taste great, but they are a perfect low-calorie addition to any diet when losing weight," says Soutter.
"Their high-fibre content means that this delicious sweet snack is great for keeping hunger at bay."
3. They may help prevent cancer
"Pears are a great source of antioxidants and polyphenols, including flavanols. They are also a source of the antioxidant nutrient vitamin C," says Soutter.
She adds that, while more research is needed, some evidence suggests a diet high in antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables may have anti-cancer benefits.
4. They help balance blood sugar
The sweetness of pears provides benefits to the body, according to Soutter.
"Pears provide a proportion of their sugar as fructose. Interestingly, fructose-rich foods do not raise blood sugar levels as rapidly as glucose," she says.
"This means that pears are the perfect sweet snack for balancing blood sugar."
Pears also minimise the risk of a blood sugar crash which often comes with consumption of high-sugar foods like sweets and biscuits.
"What's more, the high-fibre content of pears ensures that a slow and sustained release of sugar is provided to the body and brain," she adds.
5. They provide key minerals
Hidden in pears are traces of substances you might not expect, but which are key for the body's wellbeing.
"Pears provide a source of potassium, magnesium and iron," says Soutter. "A diet full of fruit and vegetables provides these minerals, which play a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure, while iron is important for red blood cell formation."