Dried Pears: Are There Health Benefits?

Dried pears provide a sweet treat and are often found with other dried fruits in the bulk section at grocery stores or prepackaged and placed with other dried fruits and nuts. They’re a popular snack for hiking or road trips since they don’t require refrigeration. 

Like other dried fruits, dried pears are the result of a dehydration process that removes the water from fresh pears (Pyrus communis), which concentrates some of the fruit’s nutrients such as amino acids and prolongs its shelf life.

Although dried pears can offer health benefits, they also have a few drawbacks. They can be healthy in moderation and help you to meet your daily recommended intake of fruit, but the high sugar content and added preservatives can pose health risks when consumed in high quantities. 

Nutrition Information

In a quarter-cup serving of dried pears, you get:

Other vitamins and minerals in dried pears include:

Dried pears contain many of the same nutrients as their fresh counterparts. They’re nutritionally equivalent to fresh pears in smaller servings. Unlike other dried fruits, it’s okay for people with diabetes to eat substantial amounts of dried pears.

They contain similar phytonutrients, including antioxidants and flavonoids, which provide many significant health benefits. These phytonutrients are concentrated mainly in the skin of the fruit though the flesh contains these nutrients in smaller concentrations.  

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Potential Health Benefits of Dried Pears

Research has found several potential health benefits linked to dried pears:

Aids in Digestive Health

Dried pears contain a decent amount of fiber, with 3 grams per quarter-cup serving. Fiber is essential for your digestive health, and can help to prevent constipation.

Prevent Heart Disease

The fiber in dried pears helps lower your LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) which can reduce your risk of heart diseases.

Lower Your Risk of Hypertension

Dried pears are an excellent source of potassium, which helps reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure.

Cancer Risk Reduction

Dried pears, like fresh varieties, contain antioxidants known as plant phenols. These compounds give your immune system a boost by fighting free radicals that can cause damage to cells. Antioxidants can help fight (and stop the growth of) certain types of cancer.

Fight Inflammation

Like fresh pears, dried pears have flavonoids. These compounds fight inflammation in the body, which can help to reduce your risk of developing certain diseases.

Potential Risks of Dried Pears

While dried pears do provide some health benefits, they also have a few potential risks:

Increased Risk of Diseases

Along with the natural sugars in dried pears, some companies coat the outside of the fruits with extra sugar. Too much sugar doesn’t just increase your risk of diabetes. It can also increase your risk of several other health-related issues such as cancer, heart diseases, and development of a fatty liver.

Consuming too much sugar, even natural sugars, can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Sulfite Allergies 

Some dried pears contain sulfites, which act as a preservative. Some people are sensitive to sulfites and may develop a rash or experience stomach cramps. If you are sensitive to sulfites, look for sulfite-free dried pears. 

May Interfere with Blood Thinners

Dried pears are rich in vitamin K, which is essential for forming blood clots. If you take the blood thinner Coumadin (Warfarin), too much vitamin K can decrease the effectiveness of your medication. You should speak with your doctor before adding dried pears (or other foods high in vitamin K) to your diet. 

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Healthier Alternatives

If you want to incorporate dried pears into your diet, be sure to monitor your portion size. You may also consider some of the following healthier alternatives to store-bought dried pears:

  • Dry fresh pears at home in your oven or a dehydrator
  • Snack on a fresh pear
  • Eat frozen pears
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 16, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

European Food Research and Technology: “Amino acid profile and Maillard compounds of sun-dried pears. Relation with the reddish brown color of the dried fruits.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: "Pears, Sulfered, Dried, Halves."

Journal of Functional Foods: “Review of dried fruits: Phytochemicals, antioxidant efficacies, and health benefits.”

Food Research International: “Characterization and quantification of fruit phenolic compounds of European and Tunisian pear cultivars.”

USDA Food Data Central: “Pear, Dried, Uncooked.”

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The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber: a meta-analysis.”

Diabetes Action: “Got Fiber?”

Physiological Reviews: “Metabolic Effects of Fructose and the Worldwide Increase in Obesity.”

International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences: “Dry Fruits and Diabetes Mellitus.”

Hypertension: “Beneficial Effects of High Potassium.”

Mayo Clinic: High cholesterol”

Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology: “Plant Phenolics in the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer.”

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Dietary flavonoid intake and incident coronary heart disease: the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study.”

Current Diabetes Research: “The Links Between Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, and Cancer.”

Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases: “The Evidence of Saturated Fat and Sugar Related to Coronary Heart Disease.”

Journal of Hepatology: “Fructose and sugar: A major mediator of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.”

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: “Sensitivity to sulfites foods among sulfite-sensitive subjects with asthma.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Why Vitamin K Can Be Dangerous If You Take Warfarin.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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