Pear Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Pears, annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Pears are a sweet, tasty fruit that's full of fiber, low in calories, and loaded with antioxidants, including vitamin C. They are native to Europe and West Asia and have been used in anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and anti-hyperglycemic remedies in China for more than 2000 years. And studies show pears have research-backed health benefits, too, such as protection from stroke and some cancers.

Pear Nutrition Facts

One medium-sized pear (178g) provides 101 calories, 0.6g of protein, 27g of carbohydrates, and 0.3g of fat. Pears are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin K, and potassium. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 101
  • Fat: 0.3g
  • Sodium: 1.8mg
  • Carbohydrates: 27g
  • Fiber: 5.5g
  • Sugars: 17g
  • Protein: 0.6g​
  • Vitamin K: 7.8mcg
  • Potassium: 206mg

Carbs

Pears are a great source of insoluble fiber, containing almost 6 grams (22% of the recommended daily amount) in one medium-size fruit. Fiber is the indigestible part of carbohydrate that helps promote bowel regularity and can reduce "bad" cholesterol.

Pears are high in fructose and other sugars. However, they have a low glycemic index of 38 and a glycemic load of 4.

Fat

Pears contain negligible amounts of both saturated and unsaturated fats.

Protein

Pears contain very little protein and are not a complete source of all essential amino acids, but they do contain trace amounts of the amino acids leucine, lysine, and glutamic acid.

Vitamins and Minerals

Pears are a good source of vitamin C, with one pear containing approximately 13% of the daily value. One pear also has about 6% of the daily recommended amount of copper and 6% of the daily recommended amount of potassium. The skin of a pear is where a large portion of its fiber resides, as well as a high concentration of nutrients, so it's best to eat this fruit with the skin on. 

Copper is important for the formation of connective tissue in the body as well as healthy brain and nervous system function. Potassium supports muscle function and nervous system communication. 

Summary

Pears are a high-fiber source of carbohydrates that provide a low-calorie burst of vitamin C as well as minerals like copper and potassium. Pears are virtually fat-free.

Health Benefits

Like many fruits and vegetables, pears offer health advantages because of their fiber and antioxidants.

Helps Repair Cells

One medium-sized pear contains about 8 milligrams of vitamin C. This vitamin is important for cell growth and repair as well as preventing oxidative damage. Vitamin C has been shown to support immune function, aid in the healing of cuts and bruises, and even protect against infectious diseases. 

In addition, pear skin contains flavonoids, phenolics, and triterpenes that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

May Lower Risk of Diabetes

Some research has indicated that the particular combination of phytonutrients in apples and pears may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Reduces Risk of Stroke

Research shows an association between the consumption of fruits and vegetables and reduced risk of stroke. One study followed a group of nearly 75,000 Swedish people for 10 years and found that, in particular, people who ate more apples and pears and people who ate more green, leafy vegetables were less likely to be diagnosed with stroke.

Similarly, a 2014 analysis of 20 studies concluded that consuming fruits and vegetables was protective against stroke, especially citrus fruits, apples and pears, and leafy vegetables.

Lowers Risk of Chronic Disease

In addition to helping you feel full (which can help with healthy weight management), eating whole foods that are high in fiber, like pears, can improve digestive health and reduce odds of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and some gastrointestinal diseases.

May Ease Hangover Symptoms

Pears were used in folk medicine to treat hangovers. One small study showed that Asian pear juice did help alleviate some symptoms of hangover, such as trouble concentrating and sensitivity to light and sound.

Allergies

While food allergies to pears are very rare, people with a birch-pollen allergy can develop an oral allergy to pears due to a similarity in proteins. Symptoms of this birch-fruit syndrome are localized in the mouth and throat and generally appear within five to 15 minutes after consuming raw pear. Cooking the pears can make them safer to eat for people with this condition.

Adverse Effects

Pears are high in FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides, and polyols), which can cause digestive symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's disease. So they are not suitable for people following a low-FODMAP diet.

Varieties

Most pears grown in the United States are grown in Washington and Oregon. There are many varieties, including Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, French Butter, and Seckel pears. They differ in size, shape, skin color, and texture but not in nutritional value.

Asian pears are rounder and crisper than most other pears; they are more like apples in appearance and texture, but they taste like pears. These pears have a little more fiber and vitamin C than other pears and slightly fewer calories.

Canned pears may be packed in syrup, juice, or water. To reduce consumption of added sugars and carbohydrates, choose pears canned in water.

Some "pears" are not really pears. Prickly pears, for example, are cacti. Both the paddle of the cactus and its fruit can be eaten. You may also hear avocados referred to as "avocado pears" or "alligator pears," perhaps because of the avocado's shape and its bumpy, dark green skin. They are not, however, true pears.

When They're Best

Most pears are harvested in the fall or winter, but they are available in supermarkets year-round. When selecting fresh pears, look for fruits that feel heavy and firm, with a little give right around the stem.

Storage and Food Safety

You can keep unripe pears in the refrigerator for a few months or at room temperature for several days while they ripen. Once ripe, they will last only a few days at room temperature. You can extend their shelf life by three to five days by putting them into the refrigerator.

Freezing fresh pears is not recommended because the juice and fibers will separate in the thawing process, and the results are undesirable. However, freezing a cooked or processed pear (such as pear sauce) will work. Place the puréed pear in a tightly sealed container before freezing to help reduce freezer burn.

How to Prepare

Pears are a versatile fruit. They can be eaten raw, poached, or baked. Enjoy your pears chopped up in salads, roasted with squash or root vegetables, puréed to make soup, or blended into a smoothie.

Pair your pear with a serving of protein, such as Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese, or nuts, for a filling, fiber-rich snack.

Recipes

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