Pears And Cholesterol: Do They Have an Impact?

I find that pears are one of the most pleasant fruits to eat. They have a sweet and mild, but rather distinctive flavor. As with apples, I enjoy biting into them raw, as fresh from the tree as possible. But did you know that pears have components in them that can help you with your cholesterol and cardiovascular health? This web page gives information on the nutrient content of pears and discusses ways in which pears can help your circulatory system.

Effects of Pears on Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health

Cholesterol in Pears

Pears contain no cholesterol at all, but nutrients and compounds in pears can affect blood serum cholesterol levels in the human body, as the following sections describe.

Cholesterol is important to consider because low levels of LDL cholesterol and high levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and with higher longevity. [1]

Fiber in Pears

cholesterol

Pears are rather high in insoluble fiber, having 3.1 grams of fiber in every 100 grams of raw pear. This is equivalent to 12% of the daily recommended intake in a daily diet of 2000 calories. The fiber is mostly present in the skin, so if you would like to benefit from the fiber in pears, leave the skin on. Over sixty research studies have shown insoluble fiber, such as that in pears, to reduce total cholesterol in the blood as well as, and more importantly, LDL cholesterol. [2] The latter is often called “bad cholesterol” because it is the type of cholesterol most implicated in cardiovascular disease, including clogging of the arteries.

Antioxidants, Including Vitamin C and Polyphenols in Pears

You may be interested to learn that pears contain a good amount of Vitamin C. While not as high in Vitamin C as citrus, 100 grams of pears have 4.2 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is equivalent to seven percent of the recommended daily intake (for someone with a 2,000 calorie diet). (Please see the nutritional information on pears in the tables below.)

Vitamin C is an antioxidant. Research has shown Vitamin C to be associated with less cholesterol in the blood and fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease. [3]

Pears have a significant amount of polyphenols, another antioxidant, standing at 93 in the list of the top one hundred polyphenol foods. [4] Polyphenols are a natural compound found in plants that have been shown to have a variety of beneficial effects on the human cardiovascular system. Studies have shown a relationship between increased intake of plant-derived flavonoids, a type of polyphenol, and reduced cardiovascular risk. [5]

cholesterol antioxidant

Pears contains 2201 micromoles/liter of Trolox equivalents per 100 grams, the total ORAC value of Pears.

  • The H-ORAC value for Pears is 2145.
  • The L-ORAC value for Pears is 56.
  • The total phenolic content of Pears is 178 mg GAE/100 g.

The food tested for the particular graph below can be described more specifically as:

Pears, green cultivars, with peel, raw

Phytosterols in Pears and Their Effect on Cholesterol

Pears contain phytosterols, a natural compound found in plants that is related to cholesterol but have been found to reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood. [6] Raw pears have 8 milligrams of phytosterols in 100 grams (about three-quarters of a small pear). While lower in sterols than vegetable oils, nuts, and legumes, fruits such as pears contain some sterols.

Nutrition Facts About Pears

The following tables display nutrition data on 100 grams of raw pear.

Macronutrients In Pears

Component
Amount
% Daily Value*
Calories
58
Protein
.38 g
1%
Carbohydrate
15.46 g
5%
Fat
.12 g
0%
Fiber
3.1 g
12%
Sugar
9.8 g
Water
83.71 g
Ash
.33

*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Fat Types In Pears

Fat Type
Amount
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
.01
0%
Monosaturated Fat
.03 g

*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Vitamins In Pears

Vitamin
Amount
% Daily Value*
Vitamin C
4.2 mg
7.0%
Vitamin E
.12 mg
0%
Vitamin A – IU
23 IU
0%
Vitamin D – IU
0 IU
0%
Thiamin – B1
.01 mg
1%
Riboflavin – B2
.03 mg
1%
Niacin – B3
.16 mg
1%
Vitamin B6
.03 mg
1%
Vitamin B12
0 mcg
0%
Folic Acid
0 mg
Food Folate
7 mg

*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Minerals in Pears

Mineral
Amount
% Daily Value*
Calcium
9 mg
1%
Magnesium
7 mg
2%
Iron
.17 mg
1%
Zinc
.1 mg
1%
Sodium
1 mg
0%
Phosphorus
11 mg
1%
Potassium
119 mg
3%
Manganese
.05 mg
2%
Copper
.08 mg
4%
Selenium
.1 mg
0%

*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Nice Ways to Enjoy Pears

Pears are delicious raw, as I mentioned above. But they are also delightful in other ways. I particularly enjoy them in salads for their somewhat sweet but mild taste. They are wonderful chopped and enjoyed in yogurt or cottage cheese. They are delightful when baked with melted butter, honey and ginger. They go well with meats, especially chicken and pork. Pears are, believe it or not, even a great pizza topping. They also are a good ingredient in a wide variety of baked goods, such as cakes, fritters, and breads.

References

[1] Arai, Y., Hirose, N., Nakazawa, S., Yamamura, K., Shimizu, K.-i., Takayama, M., Ebihara, Y., Osono, Y. and Homma, S. “Lipoprotein Metabolism in Japanese Centenarians: Effects of Apolipoprotein E Polymorphism and Nutritional Status.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 49, no. 11 (November 2001): 1434-1441. doi: 10.1046/j.1532-5415.2001.4911234.x

[2] Brown, L., Rosner, B., Willett, W., and Sacks, F. “Cholesterol-lowering Effects of Dietary Fiber: a Meta-analysis.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69, no. 1 (January 1999): 30–42.

[3] Simon, JA. “Vitamin C and Cardiovascular Disease: a Review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 11, no. 2 (April 1992): 107-125

[4] Pérez-Jiménez J., Neveu V., Vos, F., and Scalbert A. “Identification of the 100 Richest Dietary Sources of Polyphenols: an Application of the Phenol-Explorer Database.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 64, no. 3s (2010): S112-S120.

[5] Knekt P, Jarvinen R, Reunanen A, Maatela J. “Flavonoid Intake and Coronary Mortality in Finland: A Cohort Study.” BMJ 312 (24 February 1996):478–481. doi: 10.1136/bmj.312.7029.478.

[6] Katan MB, Grundy SM, Jones P, Law M, Miettinen T, Paoletti R. “Efficacy and safety of plant stanols and sterols in the management of blood cholesterol levels.” Mayo Clin Proceedings 78, no. 8 (August 2003): 965–978.

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. Click here to log in.

Trackback URL http://www.i-cholesterol.com/pears/trackback/