These days it feels like there are so many “superfoods” on the market it can be tough to know which ones to choose. But just getting back to basics and eating whole, unrefined foods is usually the best choice when it comes to staying healthy. Fruits and vegetables are some of nature’s greatest resources for nutrients, and it turns out that the humble pear can help you fight a number of age-related conditions — and even help you lose weight.
Those sweet little bell-shaped fruits we know and love actually pack a hefty nutritional punch. Pears are loaded with antioxidants, healthy plant compounds, and dietary fiber that give our bodies a much-needed boost. Plus, they also contain significant amounts of necessary nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, copper, and potassium — all that in on little fruit.
For lack of a better word, pears really are an anti-aging superfood that can help fight age-related conditions like cardiovascular disease. For one, an antioxidant in pears called procyanidins has shown to help decrease stiffness in heart tissue, making it easier for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. This antioxidant has also shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, which means you have a lower risk of having a heart attack!
Similarly, quercetin, another antioxidant found in pear skins, has been shown to decrease inflammation and reduce heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And if that weren’t enough, eating pears could also reduce your risk of stroke. One study of 20,000 people over a 10-year period concluded that every 25 grams of white-fleshed fruit (like pears) eaten daily significantly decreased stroke risk. Now that’s pretty impressive.
Even though they’re a sweet fruit, pears have also been linked to a lower risk of diabetes. The dietary fiber in pears helps to slow down digestion so the body has more time to break down excess sugars. This can help stabilize and lower blood sugar levels, and thereby reduce diabetes risk. One study observing over 200,000 people found that eating five or more servings of anthocyanin-rich fruits like red pears each week was associated with a 23 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, an animal study concluded that plant compounds, like anthocyanins found in pear peels, had both anti-diabetes and anti-inflammatory effects.
Last but not least, the health-boosting nutrients in pears can also help lose stubborn weight. A serving of pears is low in calories, high in water content, and relatively high in dietary fiber. A low calorie, nutrient-rich diet has been shown to aid weight loss, while increased hydration has shown to contribute to a healthy weight. What’s more, the fiber in pears can help you feel full and therefore prevent overeating.
Dietary fiber also benefits digestion and gut health — both which are extremely important in maintaining a healthy weight. In one study, 40 adults ate two pears daily and lost up to 1.1 inches off their waist circumference over the course of 12 weeks. During another 10-week study, women who added three pears per day to their diet lost an average of 1.9 pounds, which was more than subjects who added oats to their daily diet.
So there you have it. If you thought you had to cut out delicious fruits to lose weight or get healthier, think again. Pears are not only a weight loss superfood, but they’re a potent anti-ager that can help you fight sickness and disease.
Here’s to keeping yourself healthy — and slim!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.