Pears can do wonders for oral health

 

December is National Pear Month! With so many varieties in season, it’s the perfect time to learn all about how this healthy fruit is great for your smile. 

How pears protect your teeth

Like apples, pears are an excellent alternative to sugary and starchy snacks. They’re high in water content, which dilutes their sugars, and their crunchy texture stimulates saliva to wash away bacteria and food particles. And because they’re tasty and sweet, pears can easily satisfy sugar cravings without putting you at risk for cavitie

A single pear can pack up to 7 mg of vitamin C — but unlike many other vitamin C-rich fruits, such as lemons and limes, pears can be up to 100 times less acidic. This means they’re less likely to damage tooth enamel. It also means they can help reduce the acidity of plaque, which helps prevent tooth decay.

What other great nutrients are hiding in pears?

• Fiber, which helps with digestion

• Flavonoids, a plant compound that can be helpful in preventing Type 2 diabetes and strokes

• Antioxidants, which help prevent heart disease, cancer and other diseases

• Potassium, which regulates heart rate, blood pressure and muscle and nerve function

Did you know...?

A raw, medium-size pear contains nearly 6 grams of fiber, which accounts for about 24% of an adult’s daily fiber needs, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Foods rich in fiber help keep your teeth and gums clean.

Plus, here’s what’s not in a pear: sodium, cholesterol or fat. 

Pears have a low glycemic index (GI score: 30), which means they’re less likely to affect blood sugar levels. It’s important to remember, though, that pear-derived products like juices, jams and canned pears may contain harmful added sugars. (In fact, fruit juices can even do damage to your teeth.) Eating whole fruits is the key to gaining all the health benefits and nutrients.

2 great ways to savor pears

This versatile fruit can be enjoyed raw, poached, grilled, baked and more! Try these delicious recipes to enjoy the health benefits of pears. 

Recipe: Warm broiled pear with cinnamon ricotta

Enjoy this cozy recipe on your own or make multiple servings to share! This can be served as a low-calorie dessert or as a snack on a cold afternoon. Pair it with a hot cup of tea to give your teeth an extra nutrient boost. 

Ingredients:

•  1 small pear, halved and cored

• 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Directions:

1.     Preheat your broiler or toaster oven.

2.     Place the pear halves on baking sheet and broil for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender.

3.     Mix the cinnamon and ricotta in a small bowl.

4.     Top the warm pear with the ricotta mixture and dig in!

Recipe: Spinach pear smoothie

This simple smoothie is packed with nutrients and natural sugars. Half the fiber content of a pear is in the skin, so don’t peel before you blend!

Ingredients:

•  1 pear, cubed with the seeds and stem removed

•  1 cup ice

•  1 cup fresh spinach

•  1 frozen banana, cubed

•  2/3 cup almond milk


Directions:

1.      Add ingredients together in a blender.

2.     Blend on high for 1 minute or until smooth.

3.     Enjoy at home or on the go!

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