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.
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.
Potential Health Benefits of Dried Pears
Research has found several potential health benefits linked to dried pears:
Aids in Digestive Health
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.
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.
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.
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