Why pears should be on your plate
March 2, 2016
Posted by Lisa Garcia, RD, LD
For the past few months many of us have been enjoying clementines for a healthy fruit snack, but the season for them is passing. Thankfully, there is another great fruit to enjoy: pears. Apples may get all the publicity and the famous saying, but pears are an even better than apples from a nutrition standpoint. Why?
Eating a medium sized pear, which weighs about 6 ounces, provides you with about 30% more fiber than an apple of the same size. To get the maximum benefit from either fruit, be sure to eat the skin. You lose about half of the fiber if you peel either fruit.
Much of the fiber in pears is soluble fiber and this type of fiber has several health benefits. It increases the time it takes for your stomach to empty, so you feel fuller longer. This is helpful if you are trying to lose weight or avoid gaining weight. Soluble fiber can also help you manage your cholesterol levels by helping to reduce the amount of cholesterol your body absorbs from the foods you eat.
To fully enjoy pears, explore the many varieties of pears that are available. As with apples, each variety offers a slightly different texture and taste. Click here to find information about the different varieties of pears. You may find there are some varieties you enjoy more than others.
Another key to enjoying pears is handling them properly. Pears only ripen when they are off the tree and many of the pears in stores are not yet fully ripe. Until your pears are to the point of ripeness you enjoy, avoid putting them put them in the refrigerator. Keeping them cold slows the ripening process. If you need to speed up the ripening process, place your pears next to a bunch of bananas.
What is the best way to judge if a pear is ripe? USA Pears recommends applying gentle pressure to the neck of the pear. If it yields, the pear is ripe. It is important to note, however, that this technique will not work with Bartlett pears.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy pears:
- Add slices to a bowl of oatmeal for a warm and filling breakfast of healthy fiber.
- Wash. Dry. Eat.
- Add pears to a salad. They are especially good in a spinach salad with walnuts.
- Enjoy diced pears with plain yogurt or cottage cheese for a boost of protein and fiber.
- Cook pears with ginger and carrots or parsnips for a dinner. Click here for the recipe
- Serve poached pears for a delicious dessert. Click here for a video with easy directions.
Having personally struggled with weight and gut health issues, I understand how easy it is to think that food is the enemy especially with the changes our bodies undergo as we age. It doesn’t have to be that way!
I love using my extensive education and coach approach to help people realize it is possible to feel better and be healthier while still enjoying their life and food.