The taste of an Asian pear is something like a mix of an apple and a pear. You will find it is less sweet than the western pears we are used to, and less acidic than the sour edge we are accustomed to in apples. In texture it is less grainy than a pear and more crisp like an apple. From the photographs here, you will see it generally resembles an apple, with some varieties moving a little more in the direction of a pear. The Asian pear is also known by several other common names, such as Chinese pear, Japanese pear and Korean pear. In Korea particularly, the Asian pear is a very popular fruit.
Asian Pear Nutrition Profile
Nutritionally speaking the Asian pear, like the Western pear, is not the most nutritious of fruits. They are a moderate source of vitamin C, B1, B2, B3 and folate. Their Vitamin K levels are surprisingly high for a fruit, even though fruits generally are not considered great sources of this Vitamin. An average sized Asian pear of approximately 3″ in diameter supplies 12.4mcg of vitamin K, about 1/6 of the RDA.
As far as its mineral status goes, the Asian pear is a pretty good source of potassium. It also contains fair amounts of the antioxidant minerals zinc, copper and selenium.
It’s in its fiber content that the Asian pear benefits excel. An average sized Asian pear of 275g supplies a surprising 9.9g of fiber. Although there is no RDA yet for fiber, official sources recommend 20-25 grams per day. Two Asian pears alone would almost get you there, providing 19.8g of fiber. The western pear (also known for its high fiber content) falls a little short of the Asian pear, providing 8.5g of fiber per 275g of fruit. Approximately half of this fiber is provided by a specific kind of fiber called pectin.
Health Benefits of Pectin
Pectin like all forms of fiber has been proven to help lower cholesterol and therefore reduce the chances of developing heart disease. So how does fiber lower cholesterol levels? In the colon, fiber binds with bile salts and takes them out of the body. Bile salts require cholesterol to be created. The body has to break down its own cholesterol to create these bile salts, which in turn simply decreases the amount of cholesterol in our bodies.
Another advantage of quickly removing bile salts from the body, is the toxins they contain. The liver creates bile to flush the harmful chemicals it breaks down into the colon. If we don’t have enough fiber in our diet and our bowels slow down, we are at risk of reabsorbing these toxins back into our system.
As a form of fiber, pectin also has some unique qualities besides the generic (and wonderful) health benefits of adequate fiber intake. Pectin can help alleviate diarrhea. It is a very binding form of fiber that helps develop solid stools with regularity. Also, when eaten with carbohydrates, pectin slows down the rate at which glucose is absorbed into the blood stream. It is therefore a beneficial aid to those with diabetes.
Darren and Veronica Haynes