September 19, 2019 · Written by Foodtolive Team
Pears Vs. Apples: Nutritional Comparison And Health Benefits
There’s a reason why when people make comparisons, the phrase is “apples and oranges” and not “apples and pears.” Apples and pears are actually closely related and share many similarities.
Both fruits both come from the Rosaceae family and were first cultivated in Asia. And while their outward appearances are different, they both have a similar skin that covers a sweet white inside.
Pears and apples share a similar harvest season, with early- to mid-autumn being the best time to find the tastiest and most nutritionally-rich fruits. But of course, any time of year is perfect for enjoying the health benefits that both have to offer.
There are about 7,500 apple varieties, so the exact nutrition facts for apples can vary. However, the USDA states an average 200-gram red delicious apple has:
- 117 calories
- 0.4 grams of fat
- 0.75 grams of protein
- 28 grams of carbohydrates, of which 10 are sugars.
- 4 grams of fiber
- 0.2 grams of iron
- 208 mg of potassium
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On the other hand, there are 3,000 varieties of pears, and the nutritional value between types tends to differ more widely than in apple varieties. A regular, 200-gram pear has:
- 114 calories
- 0.2 grams of fat
- 0.8 grams of protein
- 30 grams of carbohydrates and 9.8 grams of sugar
- 6.2 grams of fiber
- 0.4 grams of iron
- 232 mg of potassium
Though pears’ and apples’ carbohydrate and sugar count seems high, they are actually great foods to eat as a snack while on a diet.
All fruits have high levels of sugar but are low on the glycemic index. That means they help steady keep blood sugar levels throughout the day and prevent feelings of hunger. Plus, the rich fiber content in pears and apples helps promote feelings of fullness and regulate digestion.
Since pears have less sugar and more fiber, though, they will do a better job of moderating hunger.
Vitamins and Minerals
Both pears and apples are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals and have comparable levels of phosphorus and sodium.
But, pears have more copper, a mineral that the Western diet generally lacks. In addition to copper, pears also contain more iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
But when it comes to the fruit with better vitamin content, apples have more vitamins A, E, and B1. Pears have more B3 and K, but both have the same levels of vitamins C and B2.
Both fruits contain the nutrients that will help the body perform its best, but there are a couple of things that set the two apart from each other.
They have been shown to improve digestion, support regularity, and prevent constipation as part of a healthy digestive system. This can help the body detox more effectively and rid itself of toxins.
Pears’ fiber content is beneficial for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and lowering cholesterol. Diets rich in fiber have been shown to reduce the “bad” cholesterol that causes cardiovascular disease and other issues.
Not just that, but high-fiber foods such as pears have been shown to lower the risk of developing diabetes, cancer, and obesity. It also bolsters the immune system and eases inflammation.
Pears’ low glycemic index number and high fiber content are also beneficial for managing diabetes as it regulates blood sugar levels.
Lastly, pears have many antioxidants in the form of vitamins C, K, and the mineral copper. These nutrients fight free radicals that can damage the cells and accelerate the aging process or even lead to cancer.
Apples show similar benefits as pears when it comes to lowering cholesterol, the risk for stroke, and developing diabetes.
But some studies have shown that apples might be able to improve brain functioning and possibly prevent cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is due in part to the antioxidants that reduce the rate of cellular damage in the brain caused by inflammation and free radicals.
These antioxidants are also linked to the prevention of some cancers, specifically, breast cancer.
Equally Delicious And Nutritious
When comparing pears and apples, there isn’t much that definitively makes one better than the other. As both fruits stem from the same family, they share many similarities in terms of nutritional makeup and health benefits. Both fruits are full of fiber and rich in antioxidants, both of which are the right things to keep the body running its best.
When it comes down to it, a preference in taste is sure to be the deciding factor. But since pears and apples are currently in season, there’s no reason not to enjoy them both.