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(TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower photo illustration)

Researchers are studying the health benefits of pears. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower photo illustration)

Pears could have multiple health benefits, according to preliminary research at the North Dakota State University in Fargo.

Researchers there studied whether the peel, pulp, and juice of pears could help prevent and manage type-2 diabetes, hypertension, and stomach diseases.

Drs. Kalidas Shetty and Dipayan Sarkar found that fermented juice and extracts of Bartlett and Starkrimson pears could inhibit Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which are associated with gastritis and stomach ulcers, without harming beneficial bacteria in the gut.

The in vitro studies also showed that phenolic compounds and antioxidants found in the peel of the pears could help control blood glucose levels and high blood pressure. More research would be needed to find out if results of the studies could be replicated in humans.

“Our results from in vitro assays suggest that 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,” Shetty reported.

The study is one of several funded by the Northwest pear industry to examine the nutritional benefits of fresh pears, according to the Pear Bureau Northwest. In 2011, the industry began reviewing existing nutrition research and accepting research proposals relating to pears.