I was recently very generously gifted a crate of pears so I must extol their goodness while we have them available locally. As a Functional Medicine physician I see many people with chronic issues - many of which can be addressed by identifying food intolerances and removing those foods from the diet. Rarely do we have to eliminate pears! I think any food can become an issue if it is consumed too frequently but in general, when we are trying to heal the gut, pears are okay to eat.
Please get organic produce whenever possible. Check out EWG.org to look at the levels of pesticides in your foods. On the 'Dirty Dozen' list, cherries are #7 and pears are #8 (ranked 1 - 12 in levels of pesticides found in these foods). So what's so great about pears, besides that they are so tasty?
Well, for starters, whenever you want to do a detox, or get rid of all those pesky pesticides from the foods you got from a restaurant or drive through or a package because you were in a hurry, you will need to follow a specific eating plan to eliminate the inflammatory foods so your liver can work harder but you will also need to eliminate the byproducts that the liver is flushing out into your intestines. This means you will need to poop one to two times a day. Pears have lots of fiber and can help you get the job done. The gritty fiber in pears binds to cancer-causing chemicals and free radicals and helps to protect your colon from damage caused by those agents.
Pears are low in calories, a medium pear only has about 100 calories, so they are helpful when trying to lose weight. Nutritionally, they provide vitamin C, potassium, folate, some of the B vitamins along with a few minerals, including copper, iron, manganese and magnesium. Pears are also rich in antioxidants so they boost your immune function and can help prevent illnesses like the common cold (a virus which should not be treated with antibiotics). Pears contain boron which, along with the other minerals in pears, will improve your bone health. They also contain vitamin A which helps prevent the effects of aging on the skin, like wrinkles and age spots, and who wouldn't want that?
So if you don't have a generous extended family member with a pear tree, get yourself some organic pears (hopefully grown locally) and enjoy! I'm going to be canning, making preserves and freezing some pears for smoothies later and I promise to write about supplements soon!
I will just say this one thing about supplements, though, and that is this - even if you only eat whole foods straight from the garden or organic section at your grocery store, most commercially farmed soil is nutrient deficient and studies have shown that our population is lacking in many of the key vitamins and nutrients needed for normal functioning. So stay tuned for more about supplements and meanwhile, enjoy these delicious summer fruits while they are available!