A new study, published in the journal Food Research International, found that certain types of pears may help manage type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and intestinal ulcers. The secret is in the skin, pulp and juice of of Starkrimson and Bartlett pears, which contain high concentrations of phenolic compounds, natural compounds also found in some medicinal herbs.
Right now, researchers have only completed a preliminary test tube study, so more research is needed to find out whether these results will be replicated in humans. These early results are looking hopeful, however, and eating more pears can’t hurt.
With the number of diabetic adults and children expected to increase by more than 50 percent in the next 20 years due to unhealthy diets, simple and inexpensive healing tools will be increasingly pertinent. Study co-author Kalidas Shetty says, “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.” Researchers think that a “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.”
The skin of the Starkrimson pears was found to have the highest levels of phenolic compounds, though study results also suggest that Bartlett pear pulp or pulp extract may work as a mild ACE inhibitor. ACE inhibitors are pharmaceuticals used to treat high blood pressure.
Fermented pear juice or pear extract both show promise in treating stomach ulcers. They work by stopping a bacteria commonly associated with ulcers and gastritis called H. pylori. It took from 24 to 72 hours of fermentation to get the best results, depending on the variety of pear and whether they adjusted the pH before beginning the ferment. The research into pears isn’t the first to establish a link between fermented foods and a healthier gut. We’ve been fermenting food for thousands of years as a preservation method and to aid in digestion.
A grain of salt: Some early funding for this research came from USA Pears.