PORTLAND, Ore. – April 8, 2016 – An abstract of an ongoing study, "Fresh pear (Pyrus communis) consumption may improve blood pressure in middle-aged men and women with metabolic syndrome," presented at Experimental Biology in San Diego this week indicates regular fresh pear consumption may improve blood pressure and vascular function in middle-aged men and women with metabolic syndrome (MetS.)1 MetS, 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. 2
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 2 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, whereas 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.
"These initial results are very promising," said Dr. Sarah A. Johnson, PhD, RDN, lead author and now Assistant Professor and Director of the Functional Foods & Human Health Laboratory in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University. "With metabolic syndrome being of such high prevalence in the U.S., we feel it is important to explore the potential for functional foods such as pears to improve cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure in affected middle-aged adults. Elevated systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure, which is the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure, are strong predictors of cardiovascular disease. Age-related vascular dysfunction has been shown to be accelerated in individuals with metabolic syndrome and contributes to these increases in blood pressure."
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, Pears are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of vitamin C, for only 100 calories per serving. One medium pear provides 24 percent of daily fiber needs. Plus they are sodium-free, cholesterol-free, fat-free, and contain 190 mg of potassium. A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including pears, provides beneficial micronutrients, vitamins, dietary fiber, potassium, phytochemicals, and more.
Pear Bureau Northwest continues to collaborate with researchers to support additional studies highlighting the relationship between pears and positive health outcomes. Visit http://www.usapears.org for additional pear research, nutrition resources and recipes.
About Pear Bureau Northwest
Pear Bureau Northwest was established in 1931 as a nonprofit marketing organization to promote the fresh pears grown in Oregon and Washington. Today, the United States is the third largest pear-producing country in the world, and Oregon and Washington comprise the nation's largest pear growing region with 1,600 growers producing 84% of all fresh pears grown in the United States. Pears grown in these two Pacific Northwest states are distributed under the "USA Pears" brand. Pears are an excellent source of fiber (24% DV) and a good source of vitamin C (10% DV) for only 100 calories per medium sized pear. Sweet and juicy with no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol, pears are a perfect choice for a snack as well as for any course of any meal of the day. For more information, visit http://www.usapears.org, http://www.facebook.com/USApears, and follow @USApears on Twitter.
1. Johnson SA, Navaei N, Pourafshar S, Akhavan NS, Elam ML, Foley E, Clark EA, Payton ME, Arjmandi BA. (2016). Fresh pear (Pyrus communis) consumption may improve blood pressure in middle-aged men and women with metabolic syndrome. FASEB J. 30 , 1175.12
2. Aguilar M, Bhuket T, Torres S, Liu B, Wong RJ. (2015) Prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome in the United States, 2003-2012. JAMA; 313(19):1973-1974. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.4260.