New research is praising the potential health benefits of Bartlett and Starkrimson pears.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts and North Dakota State University, Fargo studied to find out if the peel, pulp and juice of pears can impact the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which plays a role in intestinal ulcers. Using test tube lab experiments, the study provided metabolic insights into how two varieties of pears could play a role to better manage early stage diabetes and associated hypertension- high blood pressure.
- Naturally occurring phenolic compounds found in fruits may provide a variety of health benefits.
- Starkrimson peel had the highest total phenolic content, and 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.
Other Key Facts
Researchers also examined whether the pears studied might provide benefits to controlling high blood pressure. ACE (angiotensin-I-converting enzyme) inhibitors are medications that are sometimes used to help treat elevated blood pressure. The study showed that the watery extract of Bartlett pulp had low to moderate ACE inhibitory activity. The pear peel and pulp did not show any ACE inhibitory activity in this study.
Results also suggested that fermented pear extract can inhibit H. pylori without affecting the growth or function of probiotic bacteria and has the potential to sustain probiotic function of beneficial bacteria.
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. Our results 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 co-author Marcia Pinto. Shetty, professor of Plant Sciences at NDSU, and director of the Global Institute of Food Security and International Agriculture (GIFSIA).
Results of this study and others point to the use of foods that can help combat disease, which in turn, can impact agriculture around the world," Shetty added. This research helps make the case to build better food crops for health. Shetty sees additional opportunity for agriculture, particularly in North Dakota. "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," he said.