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Americas: Eating pears regularly improves blood pressure in middle-aged people

Regular fresh pear consumption may improve blood pressure and vascular function in middle-aged men and women with metabolic syndrome (MetS), according to an ongoing study presented at Experimental Biology in San Diego this month.

MetS is a cluster of major cardiovascular risk factors highly associated with the development of chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes, affects more than one in three U.S. adults.

The randomized, placebo-controlled crossover clinical trial evaluated the antihypertensive effects of fresh pear consumption in middle-aged men and women with MetS.

Fifty men and women aged 45 to 65 years with three of the five features of MetS were randomly assigned to receive either two medium-sized fresh pears (~178 g) or 50 g pear-flavored drink mix (placebo) per day for 12 weeks.

Preliminary analyses of 36 participants show that after 12 weeks of fresh pear consumption, systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure were significantly lower than baseline levels.

There were no changes in the control group.

Further research is needed to confirm the antihypertensive effects of fresh pears as well as to assess their impact on vascular function.

The study is from the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences and the Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research on Aging (CAENRA) at Florida State University by Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi, Professor and Director of CAENRA and Dr. Sarah A. Johnson, previous Assistant Director of CAENRA.

Among the most popular fruits in the world, the Pear Bureau Northwest says pears are reportedly an excellent source of fiber and a good source of vitamin C, for only 100 calories per serving.

One medium pear provides 24% of daily fiber needs.

The fruit is sodium-free, cholesterol-free, fat-free, and contains 190 mg of potassium.

A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including pears, provides beneficial micronutrients, vitamins, dietary fiber, potassium and phytochemicals.