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pears4Hands down, the healthiest thing about pears is their high fiber content.  A medium-size Bartlett pear has about 4 grams of fiber.  Better yet, pears pack a 50-50 blend of the two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.  The soluble fiber in pears, called pectin, may help lower cholesterol levels by removing cholesterol out of your blood.  It also helps block the fat and cholesterol in your foods from getting to the inside wall of the intestine where it would be absorbed into the blood stream.  Lignin, the insoluble fiber in pears helps bulk up the stools and makes them pass through the intestines faster, possibly reducing the risk of colon cancer. 

 

And please don’t peel your pear!  Almost all of the important antioxidants that pears have to offer are in the skin. 

 

Here are the five most common pears:

  • Anjou – Egg-shaped and green when ripe.
  • Yellow Bartlett – Sweet and aromatic, turns from green to yellow when ripe.
  • Red Bartlett – Dark red to bright red when ripe and very sweet.
  • Bosc – Ideal for cooking and baking, it is an earthy brown color
  • Seckel – Maroon and olive green – it is about half the size of an Anjou.

 

A pear is ripe when you can press your thumb into the pear and it yields slightly to the pressure.  Most supermarket pears are about 1 to 3 days from being ripe. 

 

Try these ways to include pears into your diet!

  • Add sliced pears to your salad.  Drizzling pears with lemon juice will keep them from browning.
  • Add slices of pears to your vegetable tray.
  • Top a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and pear slices.
  • Bake pear halves with ham or pork during the last 15 minutes of cooking, basting them with juices from the meat.  Serve as a side dish. 

 

Taken from:  The Giant Book of Kitchen Counter Cures;  Karen Cicero and Colleen Pierre, M.S., R.D.

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