6 Surprising Health Benefits of Pears

This underrated fruit is seriously good for your gut and heart.

<p>Nozdracheva/Getty Images</p>

Nozdracheva/Getty Images

There are more than 3,000 different varieties of pears, and nearly a dozen of them are available in the United States each year. In fact, the United States is one of the world’s largest pear producers, yielding (literally) tons of Bartletts, Boscs, and Anjous.

Though they are readily available, pears aren’t exactly the most popular fruit among Americans. In some surveys, pears barely make it into the top 40 fruits. Admittedly, they can have a very mild flavor, and like the avocado, they can go from rock solid to mushy fairly quickly. Still, there’s a reason why fancy pears are a coveted gift: they represent prosperity, and when done right, they’re buttery smooth, sweet, and juicy.

Pears are also dense in beneficial nutrients, says Julie Pace, RDN, a registered dietitian and the owner of Core Nutrition Health and Wellness. "They provide an excellent source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds," Pace explains, adding that these pear nutrients contribute to health benefits like reduced risk of certain diseases. Pears are especially beneficial for gut and heart health.

If the pear hasn’t impressed you thus far, maybe its nutrient content and potential health benefits will convince you to give it another try.

Related: The 17 Healthiest Fruits to Eat, According to the Nutrition Pros

Pear Nutrition Facts

Fruits and vegetables are some of the most potent sources of vitamins and minerals, so it’s no surprise that pears contain a long list of nutrients.

Per the USDA, one medium-size pear provides more than a dozen essential nutrients, most notably the following:

  • Calories: 112

  • Fat: 0.3 grams (g)

  • Protein: 0.7 g

  • Carbohydrates: 27 g

  • Fiber: 5.5 g

  • Total sugars: 17.2 g

  • Vitamin C: 7.8 milligrams (mg)

  • Copper: 0.14 mg

  • Potassium: 179 mg

  • Vitamin K: 6.7 micrograms (mcg)

Pears don’t contain any added sugars, and they’re naturally low in sodium and free from saturated fat, says Hannah Jones, RD, LD, a registered dietitian in Oklahoma City. This lineup of nutrients make pears a winning food choice for reducing the risk for chronic diseases and contributing to healthy digestion, Jones says.

The nutrients in pears look good on paper, but how do they benefit your health? We spoke to registered dietitians to uncover the potential health benefits of pears—and there are a lot. Here are the health benefits of pears that the pros highlighted.

Health Benefits of Pears

Pears are high in fiber.

What pears lack in popularity, they make up for in fiber. Getting plenty of dietary fiber is crucial for healthy digestion, but it’s a nutrient many Americans are lacking. Fewer than 10 percent of U.S. adults currently meet the recommended amount of fiber each day, according to the American Society for Nutrition. If you’re among that group, pears could be the high-fiber solution you’re looking for. With 5.5 grams of fiber per serving, one medium pear provides about 20 percent of the daily value (DV) for fiber, Jones says.

So, why do you need fiber anyway? The essential nutrient is associated with many health benefits, such as heart health, but it’s mainly known for supporting gut health. “Pears provide both types of fiber—soluble and insoluble,” Jones says. “They may help promote gut health by softening or bulking stools, making them easier to pass.” This could be especially beneficial for the estimated 4 million Americans who struggle with constipation.

They support heart health.

The aforementioned fiber in pears isn’t just to move things along in your gut—it’s also a surprising element of a heart-healthy diet. According to one 2022 study, the more fiber you eat, the lower your risk could be for cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke. There’s also plenty of research suggesting that a high-fiber diet can protect against cardiovascular diseases.

Along with fiber, pears are high in antioxidants. “The antioxidants in pears, such as procyanidins and quercetin, offer notable benefits for the heart,” Pace explains. “They can improve the blood markers associated with heart health.” If we take a closer look at quercetin, a flavonoid found in pear skin, it’s been shown to significantly decrease total and LDL cholesterol, per a 2020 review. When bad cholesterol goes down, so does your risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

Pears could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

There are many reasons why pears are good for blood sugar control. Namely, they’re rich in fiber, low on the glycemic index, and high in an antioxidant called anthocyanin, all of which can prevent blood sugar spikes and help lower the risk for type 2 diabetes.

In addition to supporting gut and heart health, dietary fiber has been shown to help manage blood sugar levels in those with diabetes. How does it work? “Dietary fiber helps with blood sugar regulation by slowing down how fast the body absorbs carbohydrates and sugar,” Jones explains.

Plus, eating more pears could contribute to a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes. “Eating five or more weekly servings of anthocyanin-rich fruits, particularly red pears, can be a delicious way to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 23 percent,” Pace explains, pointing to a 2012 study. “They also enhance glycemic control.”

Related: The Best 14 Antioxidant-Rich Foods You Should Stock Up On

Pears are a rich source of antioxidants.

Both of the registered dietitians we spoke to emphasized the impressive antioxidant content in pears. They contain antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin K, quercetin, anthocyanin, and others. Plus, the fiber in pears functions as an antioxidant, Jones says. Together, the large amount of antioxidants in pears—and in the rest of your diet—can help to reduce the risk of many diseases, she adds. There’s research to back this up—a 2019 review concluded that a diet high in antioxidant-rich plant foods, including pears, could reduce the risk of chronic diseases and all-cause mortality.


If you’re trying to maximize your intake of antioxidants, don’t peel your pears. Most of the antioxidants in pears are concentrated in the peel, Pace says.

Pears have anti-inflammatory properties.

Inflammation gets a bad rap, but it’s actually your body’s way of protecting you. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to what it thinks is a threat, but when there’s no active threat, it can build up and lead to chronic inflammation—which isn’t great.

Fortunately, diet is one of the ways you can reduce inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of pears mainly come down to their high antioxidant content, per the Cleveland Clinic. Specifically, the flavonoids in pears have anti-inflammatory properties, Jones says. These flavonoids calm inflammation, which in turn reduces the risk for inflammatory diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Pears support a healthy gut microbiome.

Your gut microbiome is a wonderful place that, yes, influences digestive health but also contributes to immune health and other bodily functions. It’s laden with bacteria, but don’t worry—your gut microbiome is also home to “good” bacteria. These are called probiotics, and they feed on prebiotics, which can be found in pears, Pace says. “The prebiotics in pears promote a healthy gut microbiome that's vital for digestive and overall health,” she explains. The prebiotic fibers in pears have been shown to stimulate those “good” bacteria, contributing to a healthy gut microbiota.

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