Nutrition

Put Pears On Your Training Plate

Fight fruit fatigue and up your levels of fiber and phytonutrients.

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Put Pears On Your Training Plate
BANAR FIL ARDHI/EYEEM/GETTY IMAGES / Getty, Getty

As 2018 gets in gear, take advantage of the increasing availability of pears to mix up your fruit consumption. “The natural sugars in pears can help energize workouts, and they are also a good source of antioxidants, which may aid in recovery,” says Matthew Kadey, R.D., author of Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure. “They also supply vitamin C, which helps scrub free radicals that cause inflammation, and vitamin K, which helps support strong bones.” The skin of the pear is especially laden with antioxidant phytonutrients that can help tamp down the inflammation caused by intense workouts.

One medium pear boasts an impressive five to six grams of fiber—that’s more than the amount in an apple—which translates to about 22% of your recommended daily value, Kadey says. “This can make a pear a filling snack option, and the fiber can also help stabilize blood sugar levels.” A study in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences even found that people who ate more pears had higher levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, and fiber, plus they were 35% less likely to be obese.

There are a few caveats though, says Kadey: “If you are following a strict low-carb diet, then the natural sugars in pears would be a problem, and the fiber in pears may cause some stomach woes if eaten too close to a workout.” But if that’s not a concern, feel free to enjoy pears as an out-of-hand snack, or add to oatmeal, protein shakes, yogurt, and salads.

FOOD FACTS

  • There are more than 3,000 varieties of pears worldwide.
  • About 84% of pears grown in the U.S. come from Oregon and Washington.
  • Pears ripen best off the tree, so when you buy them they will usually not be quite ripe. Leave them at room temperature, or place in a brown paper bag until they start to soften.

ALMOND YOGURT DIP WITH PEAR DIPPERS

SERVES 4

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1⁄4 cup unsalted almond butter
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground all spice
  • 1⁄2 tsp ginger powder
  • Salt
  • 4 pears, sliced into wedges

Combine yogurt, almond butter, maple syrup, lemon zest, allspice, ginger powder, and a pinch of salt in a blender. Start on low and work your way up to high speed until mixture is smooth. Chill in fridge, then serve with pear wedges.

 FLEX 

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