With more than 5,000 varieties of pears, you’ll find different shapes and colors. But when you envision the classic, slightly bell-shaped, yellow pear, you’re thinking of a Bartlett. As long as it’s fully ripened, you can count on a Bartlett to be packed with sweet juice, which makes it great eaten out of hand. It also works well baked and steamed. Bartlett pears provide fiber, carbs and vitamins C and K.
Basics About Bartletts
Bartlett pears do not ripen on the tree. If it stays on the tree, the pear’s center gets too mushy, so they’re picked while they’re green, yet mature enough to ripen. After harvesting, the pears must be chilled for a day or two to ensure they ripen properly. Bartlett pears in the store have gone through this chilling process and they're ready to ripen, which takes four to five days at room temperature. When they turn from green to yellow, or light red if they’re a red Bartlett, they’re ready to eat. You’ll get 141 fat-free calories and 1 gram of protein from one large Bartlett pear.
Boost of Fiber
Pears have more fiber than many other common fruits, such as apples, oranges and peaches. One large Bartlett contains 7 grams of fiber, which is 28 percent of a woman's and 18 percent of a man's recommended daily intake. When you eat a Bartlett pear, you’ll get soluble and insoluble fiber. You need the insoluble type to keep your digestive tract regular, while soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol. The soluble type has another important job: It slows down the rate at which sugar enters your bloodstream. Even though a large Bartlett has 34 grams of total carbs, including 22 grams of sugar, the fiber stops the sugar from causing an unhealthy spike in blood sugar.
Vitamin C for Immune Support
You will get 10 milligrams of vitamin C from eating one large Bartlett pear. This amount represents 17 percent of your daily value, based on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet. Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals formed as metabolic byproducts, which prevents them from damaging healthy cells. White blood cells in your immune system synthesize free radicals, which they use to kill bacteria. Then these free radicals must be neutralized by vitamin C before they damage the white blood cells that produced them. Vitamin C also promotes immune health by stimulating the production of white blood cells.
Vitamin K for Bones, Blood and Brain
Vitamin K helps produce proteins your body needs to make blood clot and to regulate bone density. Emerging research reports that vitamin K may also support your brain, where it helps produce specialized lipids, according to a review in the March 2012 issue of “Advances in Nutrition.” Another overview of research published in November 2013 in “Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis” suggests that vitamin K may also have an anti-inflammatory effect in the brain. One large Bartlett pear provides 8.6 micrograms of vitamin K, or 9 percent of a woman's and 7 percent of a man’s recommended intake.
- Utah State University Cooperative Extension: Pears
- Oregon State University Extension Service: When to Pick and How to Ripen Pears to Perfection
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Pears, Raw, Bartlett
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Fruits - Nutrition Facts
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide - Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients
- Linus Pauling Institute: Nutrition and Immunity
- Bastyr University: Vitamin K for Bone Health
- Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis: Vitamin K and Brain Function
- Advances in Nutrition: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions