5 Health and Nutritional Benefits of Pears

Medically Reviewed By Amy Richter, RD
Was this helpful?
7

Pears have a high nutritional value. They contain compounds that protect your cells from damage, and vitamins and minerals that boost your immunity to disease. Pears come in two main types: European pears and Asian pears. Both these types have thousands of subspecies. The most popular varieties of pears include Bartlett, Bosc, and D’Anjou pears.

This article will look at the health benefits of pears. It will also discuss the many ways to enjoy pears.

1. Antioxidant and antimutagenic properties

sliced and whole pears on blue background
Marc Tran/Stocksy United

Pears contain plant polyphenols, which have antioxidant functions. A 100-gram (g) serving of pear provides about 27–41 milligrams (mg) of polyphenols. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which can damage cells. Free radicals can also increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, and more.

Pears also have antimutagenic properties, according to a 2018 study of five Turkish varieties.

Mutagens change the DNA of a cell and can increase the likelihood of certain diseases, such as cancer.

Examples of mutagens include X-rays, UV radiation, and chemicals.

2. Benefits for digestive health 

Pears are good sources of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber can regulate bowel activity and reduce your risk of diverticular disease, a colon condition.

Fiber can also reduce your risk of other gut-related conditions, such as:

3. Antidiabetic benefits

As a source of dietary fiber, pears can help prevent type 2 diabetes. As the National Institutes of Health (NIH) explains, dietary fiber slows the absorption of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream. This helps prevent blood sugar spikes.

The protective effects are greatest with whole-grain fiber. However, a higher intake of fiber from any food source is superior to a low fiber diet. Compared with control groups consuming less fiber, people on a high fiber diet tend to feel fuller longer and eat fewer calories. If your doctor recommends weight loss, the dietary fiber in pears may be beneficial to your diet.

Learn more about the health benefits of fiber.

4. Anti-inflammatory properties

Pears are naturally anti-inflammatory. They contain polyphenols, including flavonoids, which fight inflammation.

By lowering inflammation, you may lower your risk of:

In some parts of East Asia, pears are a common home remedy for inflammation, fever, and respiratory problems.

5. Lowering cholesterol

Pears have hypolipidemic (fat-reducing) properties. This means they can lower the concentrations of lipids or fats in your blood, including cholesterol. Research finds that pear peels have a greater effect than pulp.

High cholesterol is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. As such, eating pears may help lower your risk of:

What’s in a pear? 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 serving (100 g) of raw pear contains: 

NameAmount
water84 g
calories57 calories
carbohydrates15.2 g
fiber3.1 g
sucrose0.71 g
fructose6.4 g
calcium 0.009 g (9 mg)
magnesium0.007 g (7 mg)
phosphorus0.012 g (12 mg)
potassium 0.116 g (116 mg)
protein0.36 g

Pear also contains trace amounts of vitamins B9 (folate), A, E, and K.

Other pear nutrients include polyphenols and other plant chemicals, such as

  • anthocyanins
  • flavonols
  • catechins
  • procyanidins
  • hydroxycinnamic acids 

Many pear nutrients are most concentrated in the peel.

Pear vs. apple nutrition

Pears and apples share many qualities. They both belong to the pome fruit family, which is a category of fruits that have a compartmented core.

The table below shows how pears and apples differ in terms of nutrient composition.

NameRaw pear (100 g)Raw apple (100 g)
water84 g85.6 g
calories57 calories52 calories
carbohydrates15.2 g13.8 g
fat0.14 g0.17 g
protein0.36 g0.26 g
fiber3.1 g2.4 g
fructose6.4 g5.9 g
iron0.00018 g (0.18 mg)0.00012 g (0.12 mg)
vitamin C, total 0.0043 g (4.3 mg)0.0046 g (4.6 mg)
vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.00012 g (0.12 mg)0.00018 g (0.18 mg)

Ways to eat pears

There are several ways to eat pears, including:

  • whole, sliced, or chopped fresh
  • frozen
  • as part of a fruit salad
  • blended into a natural fruit juice
  • warmed slightly, with cinnamon

You can also add pears to your soups and smoothies. Remember to keep the peel, which contains many of the nutrients.

When should you eat pears?

You can eat pears at any time. To incorporate pears into your treatment plan for a specific condition, such as type 2 diabetes, consult your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can advise whether a particular time of day is best.

Possible negative effects of pears

Pears are healthy and safe. However, they may cause some side effects if you eat them in excess.

Pears contain high amounts of fructose and sorbitol, which are two naturally occurring sugars. 

Too much fructose and sorbitol may cause digestive problems, such as diarrhea.

Pears also contain a large amount of dietary fiber. Fiber is indigestible and may cause digestive issues if you consume it in excess. Symptoms may include:

Slowly incorporating pears — and dietary fiber in general — into your diet can help you avoid these temporary side effects. Eating a variety of dietary fiber is also beneficial.

FAQ

Amy Richter, RD, reviewed the following questions.

Which is healthier: A pear or an apple?

Pears and apples are both healthy. Choose whichever you prefer, or mix them together!

Are pears good for the skin?

Pears are high in antioxidants, which may reduce the impact of sun exposure on the skin.

Summary

Pears are good sources of water, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. They also contain magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

Overall, their nutrient composition means pears may boost your immunity to disease.

Pears may help you have regular bowel movements and prevent digestive conditions. They may also promote weight loss and lower cholesterol.

Was this helpful?
7
Medical Reviewer: Amy Richter, RD
Last Review Date: 2022 Oct 11
View All Food, Nutrition and Diet Articles
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Akhlaghi, M. (2022). The role of dietary fibers in regulating appetite, an overview of mechanisms and weight consequences [Abstract]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36193993/
  2. Anderson, J. W., et al. (2009). Health benefits of dietary fiber. https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/67/4/188/1901012
  3. Aune, D., et al. (2020). Dietary fibre intake and the risk of diverticular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7058673/
  4. Benardout, M., et al. (2022). Fructose malabsorption: Causes, diagnosis and treatment. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/fructose-malabsorption-causes-diagnosis-and-treatment/E737A2C1684E85257F28581628CD15BF
  5. Erbil, N., et al. (2017). Antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antimutagenic activities of five Turkish pear cultivars [Abstract]. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10341-017-0359-1
  6. Hong, S.-Y., et al. (2021). A review of pears (Pyrus spp.), ancient functional food for modern times. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8409479/
  7. Hughes, M. C. B., et al. (2021). Dietary antioxidant capacity and skin photoaging: A 15-year longitudinal study. https://www.jidonline.org/article/S0022-202X(20)31840-6/fulltext
  8. Kolniak-Ostek, J., et al. (2020). Bioactive compounds and health-promoting properties of pear (Pyrus communis L.) fruits. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7582546/
  9. Lenhart, A., et al. (2017). A systematic review of the effects of polyols on gastrointestinal health and irritable bowel syndrome. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5508768/
  10. McRae, M. P. (2018). Dietary fiber intake and type 2 diabetes mellitus: An umbrella review of meta-analyses. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5883628/
  11. Morozov, S., et al. (2018). Fiber-enriched diet helps to control symptoms and improves esophageal motility in patients with non-erosive gastroesophageal reflux disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5989243/
  12. Reiland, H., et al. (2015). Systematic review of pears and health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657810/
  13. Rough up your diet. (n.d.). https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/special-issues/eating/rough-up-your-diet
  14. Stromsnes, K., et al. (2021). Anti-inflammatory properties of diet: Role in healthy aging. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8389628/
  15. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. (2019). FoodData Central. fdc.nal.usda.gov
  16. Wang, Z., et al. (2021). A comparative investigation on phenolic composition, characterization and antioxidant potentials of five different Australian grown pear varieties. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7909527/