Most fruit stands carry a variety of red pears including Bartlett, Anjou, Red Crimson and Comice. Like their green counterparts, red pears are a low-fat, cholesterol-free food. What differentiates the two is the antioxidant compounds found in the skin of red pears. Red pears have a high concentration of the phytonutrient anthocyanin. Anthocyanin has anti-aging properties, promotes heart health and protects against cancer. Red pears are also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and copper.
In addition to maintaining bowel health, fiber helps lower cholesterol, control blood sugar levels and protect against certain cancers. According to the Institute of Medicine, men age 50 and under should consume 38 grams of fiber daily. Women in the same age group should consume 25 grams. One medium pear has 5.5 grams of dietary fiber, or just over 20 percent of the suggested recommendation for women.
Like most fruits, pears are an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary to tissue growth, repair and healing. In addition, vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps neutralize the free radicals that may be responsible for cancer, heart disease, arthritis and aging. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C is 75 milligrams for women and 90 milligrams for men. One medium pear has 7.5 milligrams of vitamin C, which equals 10 percent of a woman’s daily requirement.
Potassium is an essential dietary mineral that helps prevent stroke, osteoporosis and hypertension. Although not as nutrient-dense as a banana, one medium pear has 212 milligrams of potassium. Enjoying a pear in your salad, as a snack or for dessert are all ways of reaching the 4,700 milligrams of potassium the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends for adults age 19 and over.
Copper, a mineral found throughout the body, is necessary to the production of hemoglobin, collagen and elastin. It also helps keep the nerves, bones and immune system healthy. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults age 19 and over should consume 900 micrograms of copper daily. One medium pear has .146 milligrams of copper, nearly 10 percent of this recommendation.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Pears, Raw
- MayoClinic.com; Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet; November 2009
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin C
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center; Potassium; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; February 2004
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Copper
- Linus Pauling Institute; The Possible Health Benefits of Anthocyanin Pigments and Polyphenolics; Ronald E. Wrolstad, Ph.D.; May 2001