Stewed Pears – Support your gut
You may have heard that bone broth and probiotics support gut health, but what about stewed pears and apples? If you have a reactivity to apples, possible due to a cross reactivity with birch pollen or latex, pears often a good alternative.
Stewed pears are a tasty simple snack, or even meal, that help to to reduce inflammation in our guts. Eating them regularly can help with IBS, IBD, bloating, pain and constipation and other conditions associated with chronic inflammation. Please remember, they are high in FODMAPs so are not recommended on a low-FODMAP diet.
How stewed pears promote gut health
Like apples, the polyphenols in pears protect the gut by fighting inflammation, supporting the gut bacteria (gut microbiome), and heart health.
Polyphenols are naturally-occurring compounds found in in plants, including fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, and wine.
Once consumed, only about 5-10% of polyphenols are directly absorbed in the small intestine, while the rest make their way to the colon to be broken down by our gut bacteria into metabolites, which then have important effects in the body.
Supplements are starting to emerge that contain polyphenols for gut health. But you can also get these same polyphenols from regularly consuming super foods like stewed apples or pears.
Pears contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, and copper. These compounds counter the effects of free radicals, protecting cells from the damage they can cause.
Fibre and our gut bugs
Stewed pears, particularly the skins, are rich in soluble fibre, a type of prebiotic. This fibre helps the beneficial bacteria in our guts thrive which has a significant impact on our gut health, promotes healthy bowel function (necessary for detoxification), and can increase feelings of fullness after a meal (supporting weight loss).
Why cooking the pears matters…
Both cooked and raw pears are healthy, and can have a positive impact as part of a balanced diet. But when pears are cooked, something magical happens, and release extra pectin – a special form of fibre.
Pectin improves the environment of our guts, feeds cornerstone bacteria, and studies in animals, have shown it to be anti-inflammatory.
Stewed pears and allergy protection
The intake of apples, pears and carrots has been found to be associated with a reduction in rhinitis, asthma, and allergic dermatitis.
What about the skins?
Unless you have a problem with the texture of stewed pears with their skins left on, it is a good idea to not peel pears. The skins contain more polyphenols, dietary fibre, and minerals compared to the other edible parts of the fruit.
How to eat?
Stewed pears can be eaten as a snack, a dessert, or a meal substitute (no more than one substitution per day), and can be stored in the fridge to be eaten the next day. They’re delicious with porridge. Cinnamon can be added as it is anti-inflammatory and helps balance the blood sugar spike that is seen after eating pears.
A capsule of a probiotic such as Lactobacillus GG, Saccharomyces Boulardii, or Bifidobacteria can be opened and sprinkled on top of the cooked pears before serving to add beneficial probiotic bacteria.
Are pears better than apples?
Both pears and apples have similar health benefits, but some people react to apples or just may prefer pears! We do know much more about the health benefits of stewed apples at this stage, with research into pears still ongoing.. It’s recommended to include both apples and pears as part of a varied diet – why not eat both!
Stewed Pears for Gut Health
- 4 pears (ripe but firm) Organic Bosc pears a good choice
- 1/3 cup water preferably filtered
- 2 tspn cinnamon
- 1/3 cup Raisins, sultanas or goji berries if needed for sweetness - also provides additional fibre
- 8 to 10 almonds for protein and good fats
- 1 knob butter preferably grass fed
- 2 capsules probiotics optional - e.g.Lactobacillus GG, Saccharomyces Boulardii, or Bifidobacteria
Core the pears and chop them into small evenly sized pieces.
Add the water and butter to the sauce pan and heat until the butter has just melted
Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, cover, and cook on a low heat for about 10 -15 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add more water if the pan becomes dry and the pear risk burning.
Cook until soft with rough shapes, no longer identifiable as pear slices. The colour should be a russet brown with the cinnamon effect.
Add any extra probiotic powders once the pear have been taken off the heat (so as not to damage the probiotics).
Eat warm or cold. Delicious with yoghurt and cinnamon or with porridge.