A gift of the gods in your produce aisle? That’s what Homer said of pears in his epic, The Odyssey. Interestingly, pears are named in the top twenty most popular fruits by the FDA, and it is no wonder! They are a delicious, nutrient-packed treat with only 100 calories and are fat free, sodium free, and cholesterol free.
Pears are an excellent source of fiber, giving you six grams of fiber, which can help you feel satisfied longer between meals. They also aid in digestion, and protect your colon from cancer-causing chemicals and have been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer, as well as offering protection from damage due to free radicals. Pears, rich in vitamin C, help your white blood cells fight infection. Vitamin E, the antioxidant that protects fat-soluble areas of your body, are abundant in this fruit as well.
This delicious treat also contains Copper, which protects your cell membranes from damage. Pears are even great for your eyes, and studies show a lowered risk of macular degeneration as we age when a diet high in fruits is maintained.
Pears were brought to America by colonists, and were introduced to California and Mexico by Missionaries. Pears did not start out the soft, juicy, fiber filled fruit we know today, but were bred and cultivated to become the delicious, sweet taste we know today.
To select the best pear, look for fruit that is firm but not hard; the color may be spotted but does not detract from the taste of ripeness of the fruit. Store at room temperature, and to receive the maximum amount of antioxidants, eat when fully ripe. Research conducted by the University of Innsbruck in Austria has suggested that fruit that is fully ripened, almost to the point of spoilage, actually increases levels of antioxidants. Check out your local H.E.B. food store for this amazing fruit, which is abundantly in season right now and include pears as part of your healthy diet.