Called the “gift of the Gods” by Homer in the epic The Odyssey, pears have held in reverence throughout time. The Pyrus communis has been tracked as far backs as three thousand years and is said to have originated in western Asia. However, some say that it was discovered much earlier by the people of the Stone Age. Pears belong to the rose family and are related to the Apple and Quince.
Pears are fiber rich and a medium sized pear can provide as much as 6 grams of the 25 to 30 grams required daily. The fiber is insoluble and absorbs water which then allows it to bulk up and brush against the intestinal wall moving waste away. This helps prevent colon cancer. Fibre has also been linked to lowering the risk of breast cancer. Fibre also helps keep cholesterol levels low.
Another cancer-preventing compound found in pears is the Hydroxycinnamic acid which has been associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancer. The antioxidant Quercetin is also contained in pears and is said to prevent cancer and artery damage that can lead to heart problems. Copper, also found in pears has been associated with the reduction of the risk of colon cancer. Some studies have shown that there was a reduction of 34 percent in breast cancer for those consuming fruit with a high fiber content.
The primary cause of vision in older adults is due to age-related macular degeneration but research has shown that the addition of fruits with carotenoids and antioxidants like Vitamin A, C, and E help reduce the risk by as much as 36 percent.
Pears are also a great source of Copper and Vitamin C, both being antioxidants which fight free radicals thus making them good for the immune system. Vitamin C stimulates white cells to fight infection and also kills many viruses and bacteria. It also aids in the regeneration of Vitamin E that has been made inactive by free radicals.
Copper protects the body from free radical damage. It is a component of the superoxide dismutase (SOD) an enzyme that eliminates free radicals that are generated during metabolism and when white cells are being attacked by bacteria or viruses. Pears provide 11.1 percent of the daily recommended Vitamin C intake and 9.5 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Pears contain Vitamins K, B2, B3, and B6. They also contain folate which for nursing moms is important in milk production. They also contain calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese which all help with heart-related diseases, cholesterol level balance and keep the immune system healthy. Boron is also found in pears and is needed to retain calcium and together help in the prevention of osteoporosis.
They are also effective in relieving fever as they have a cooling effect and are said to be a great source of energy due to its high amounts of fructose and glucose.