“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is still good advice. Especially if it’s organic. Apples are unfortunately ranked among the top produce items likely to have pesticide residues if not grown organically. That’s according to the non-profit consumer advocacy organization, Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG includes apples on their Dirty Dozen list of top produce offenders that are likely to contain pesticides. So if you have room in your budget to spend a little extra, buy organic apples for the biggest bang for the buck.
And don’t forget pears. They’re good whole foods that contribute to health in a number of ways. According to food researcher, Dipayan Sarkar, at North Dakota State University, Fargo, polyphenolic compounds in pears could play a role in managing type 2 diabetes and controlling diabetes-related high blood pressure. Sarkar and colleagues recently published research into the potential benefits of pears.
“…If we consume Bartlett and Starkrimson pears as a whole fruit (peel and pulp) it may potentially provide better control of early stage diabetes as part of an overall healthier diet," said co-author, Kalidas Shetty. “Such [a] dietary strategy involving fruits, including pears, not only potentially could help better control blood glucose levels, but also reduce over-dependence on drugs for prediabetes stages, or complement a reduced pharmacological dose of drugs with side effects to combat very early stages of type 2 diabetes," said the authors, in their article.
Pears also appeared to work like a common class of drug for the treatment of high blood pressure. Known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, these drugs help prevent the blood vessel and organ damage associated with chronic hypertension. Thus, pears could help control blood pressure naturally through a known mechanism. Investigators believe these properties are largely due to polyphenolic compounds in pears. But don’t throw away the peels. Some of the most beneficial compounds are concentrated in the fruits’ peels.
Dipayan Sarkar, Chandrakant Ankolekar, Marcia Pinto, Kalidas Shetty. Dietary functional benefits of Bartlett and Starkrimson pears for potential management of hyperglycemia, hypertension and ulcer bacteria Helicobacter pylori while supporting beneficial probiotic bacterial response. Food Research International, 2015; 69: 80 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodres.2014.12.014