Can Pears Help Manage Diabetes?

Youve heard the old saying that An apple a day keeps the doctors away but now pears can have their own phrase something like A Pear a day can be a part of a healthy diet that helps manage diabetes. Not as catchy, I know, but its true.

A new study published in Food Research International - suggests that pears as part of a healthy diet can play a role in helping to manage type 2 diabetes and diabetes-induced hypertension. Building on preview studies, a research team from North Dakota State University, Fargo and the University of Massachusetts studied Bartlett and Starkrimson pears to see if the peel, pulp and juice could impact the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and the bacteria Helicobacter pylori which plays a role in intestinal ulcers.

The study showed:

  • How two varieties of pears could play a role to better manage early stage diabetes and associated hypertension, commonly called high blood pressure.

  • Naturally occurring phenolic compounds found in fruits may provide a variety of health benefits.

  • More varied and higher phenolic content is found in the skin of the pear than in its flesh or pulp.

  • Starkrimson peel had the highest total phenolic content. Peel extracts had significantly higher total phenolic content than pulp.

  • The pulp extracts of the Bartlett cultivar had higher total phenolics when compared with Starkrimson.


"Our results from in vitro assays suggest that if we consume Bartlett and Starkrimson pears as a whole fruit - peel and pulp - it may potentially provide better control of early stage diabetes as part of an overall healthier diet," said Kalidas Shetty, professor of Plant Sciences at NDSU, serves as the director of the Global Institute of Food Security and International Agriculture (GIFSIA), as well as associate vice president for International Partnerships and Collaborations. "Such dietary strategy involving fruits, including pears, not only potentially could help better control blood glucose levels, but also reduce over dependence on drugs for prediabetes stages, or complement a reduced pharmacological dose of drugs with side effects to combat very early stages of type 2 diabetes. This research helps make the case to build better 'food crops for health. We now can develop a wide diversity of crops in North Dakota that not only meet global food security and nutritional security, but also are wholesome to counter chronic diseases from poor diets."

Other Effects

Researchers also examined whether the pears studied might provide benefits to controlling high blood pressure and whether fermented whole pear juice of Bartlett and Starkrimson pear extracts could inhibit the bacteria H. pylori a bacteria found in the gut that often is associated with gastritis and stomach ulcers. Study of other properties such as fiber content, amino acids, and vitamin C could provide additional insight on the role of pears in a healthy food system.

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