What could say Christmas more than a pear? Partridge in a pear tree- right?
Pears are one of those fly under the radar fruits that you don’t eat for a while, take a bite and pow! So amazing!!
They come in all shapes and colors and if you live in the right place you can even grow them yourself. Where did this yummy goodness come from? Pears are one of the world’s oldest cultivated and beloved fruits. In 5,000 B.C., Feng Li, a Chinese diplomat, abandoned his responsibilities when he became consumed by grafting peaches, almonds, persimmons, pears and apples as a commercial venture. Early colonists brought the first pear trees to America’s eastern settlements where they thrived until crop blights proved too severe to sustain widespread cultivation. Fortunately, the pear trees brought west to Oregon and Washington by pioneers in the 1800’s thrived in the unique agricultural conditions found in the Pacific Northwest. Today’s Northwest pear varieties are the same or similar to those first cultivated in France and Belgium where they were prized for their delicate flavor, buttery texture, and long storage life.
Why should we eat this golden gift?
Soft and sweet, pears are a treat in themselves. Once called the “gift of the gods” by Homer, author of the Odyessy, pears are packed with nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, making them a delicious but healthful snacking choice. Check out these five health benefits of pears for more good reasons to indulge in this sweet fruit.
They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, and fiber is good for the heart. Studies have shown that fiber can lower levels of bad cholesterol by binding to bile salts—which are made from cholesterol—and carrying them out of the body. Eating pears can also reduce risk of stroke by up to 50 percent.
This amazing fruit can also protect us from varying types of cancer. In addition to binding to cholesterol, the fiber in pears can also bind to and help remove cancer-causing chemicals in the colon, thus reducing risk of colon cancer. Studies have also shown that eating fiber-rich fruits such as pears can reduce risk of break cancer by 34 percent in post-menopausal women.
And last, because they are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index, pears make a smart snack for those with diabetes. The bloodstream slowly absorbs a pear’s carbs (just about 26 grams per pear), preventing a spike in blood sugar and helping to control blood glucose levels. Lightly sweet, pears can also satisfy the sweet tooth in a healthier way than other sweets.
Think about adding this to your holiday menu as a healthy dessert option. Bake them in the oven with maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla. You will be the talk of the holiday and your guests with be brimming with health!
Happy Healthy Eating! Dana