It’s pear season, which in my opinion is one of the bright spots of the chilly season. Right now my local market is overflowing with pears of all shapes, colors, and sizes, and I’m happy to report they’re all amazingly good for you. This member of the rose family is a great source of dietary fiber, which is one of the reasons eating pears can prevent you from becoming pear-shaped (a higher fiber intake is tied to less belly fat)! In fact, roughly 20% of the carbs in a pear come from dietary fiber – about 5-6 grams for each medium sized piece, a fifth of the recommended minimum intake.
 
That fiber also makes pears filling. Think of your digestive system as a long tunnel that goes through your body. Nothing really gets into your body until it’s absorbed from your GI tract into your bloodstream. Because your body can’t digest fiber, it never gets absorbed into your blood, where it either has to be burned off, or stored as fat. Instead, fiber just keeps on traveling, through that long and winding tunnel, where it does a number of healthful things. Fiber:

  • Slows the digestion and absorption of natural sugars and complex carbs, which keeps you fuller longer, and helps regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • Reduces the absorption of cholesterol from your GI tract into your blood, which slashes the risk of heart disease.
  • Exercises your GI muscles, to keep them strong and healthy, which helps you stay  “regular.” 
  • Binds to cancer causing substances in your digestive system, so they can be swept out of your body.  

There are hundreds of varieties of pears grown throughout the world, but in the U.S., the fantastic four include Bartlett (red and yellow), Anjou, Comice, and Bosc. I recommend mixing it up. And for the most antioxidant bang per bite, eat them when they’re fully ripe. A recent Austrian study found that as pears fully ripen, almost to the point of spoilage, their antioxidant levels rise.

A few of my favorite quick fix pear recipes from S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches include the Pear Ginger Almond Pancake and the Chocolate Pear Ginger Smoothie.

Fun facts: placing a pear in a paper bag will help it ripen faster; one medium pear provides 10% of your daily vitamin C needs; one quick way to tell that any type of produce is organic is to check the code – if it’s a 5 digit number that starts with a 9, it’s organic.


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