Oh Pears!

You’ll find pears in your brown bag this month. Pears are rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fiber, and pack all of these nutrients in a fat-free, cholesterol-free, 100-calorie package. Consuming pears may help with weight loss and reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease if eaten as part of an overall healthy diet.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Institute of Medicine recommends that for adults over 50, the recommendation for men is 30 grams of fiber per day and 21 grams per day for women. Diets with 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories were associated with significant reductions in both the risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The easiest way to increase fiber intake is to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Just one medium-sized pear provides 6 grams of fiber, about 24 percent of the daily need for a woman under 50. Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber help keep you feeling fuller for longer and are also low in calories. Increased fiber intake has been associated with enhanced weight loss.

Increased fiber intake has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels. A review of 67 separate controlled trials found that even a modest 10-gram per day increase in fiber intake reduced LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol.

Enjoy a pear during this harvest season!