When next you want to eat roasted corn, try it with African pear. African pear is a fleshy luscious fruit that is rich in oils and minerals. In barely five minutes of softening in hot water or dry heat, its fleshy pulp is melted into its ready to eat ‘butter’ form on fresh maize.
Interestingly, this annual fruit is harvested just in time and concurrently with maize (corn) which is traditionally eaten together like a staple food of the season.
Commonly called African pear, native pear or bush butter, it is safe for most people when eaten in normal food amounts. In Nigeria, it is ibe in Kalabari; boshu in Bokyi; orunmwun in Edo (indicating something edible); ube in Ibo; orumu in Urhobo; and elemi in Yoruba. But, not many people are aware that African pears can make significant contribution to their health.
There are several nutrients in pears such as vitamins A, B1, B2, folic acid, niacin, C and E. Minerals such as potassium, copper and phosphorous are also found in pears. Calcium, iron, magnesium, sulphur, chlorine and sodium are present in lower quantities. Certain varieties of pears have higher iron content. When you cut a pear and it turns brown, it means that it is rich in iron.
Pears are rich in fibre, which lowers bad cholesterol, also known as LDL. Studies have shown that fibre can lower levels of bad cholesterol by binding to bile salts—which are made from cholesterol—and carrying them out of the body. Eating pears can also reduce risk of stroke by up to 50 per cent.
Fresh pears are also rich in potassium, which is necessary for maintaining heartbeat, muscle contraction, nerve transmission, as well as carbohydrate and protein metabolism.
Pears can also protect from varying types of cancer. The fibre in pears binds to and helps remove cancer-causing chemicals in the colon, thus reducing risk of colon cancer. Studies have also shown that eating fibre-rich fruits such as pears can reduce risk of breast cancer by 34 per cent in post-menopausal women.
In addition, its high vitamin C and copper content act as good anti-oxidants that protects cells from damages by free radicals which predisposes to cancer.
Supports healthy babies
Eating pears during pregnancy helps to prevent neural tube defects in the baby because of the folic acid found in pears.
Boosts immunity against diseases
Studies revealed that African pear is loaded with essential ingredients for warding off diseases. The antioxidant property of African pear makes it good for strengthening of the immune system.
Consuming pear juice regularly helps to regulate bowel movements. The presence of fibre in pears helps prevent constipation and also ensures regularity of bowel movement. In an interview by Secretary General, West African Association of Food Science and Technology (WAAFoST), Professor Osaretin Ebuehi said that its richness in several minerals and fibre makes it important in attainment of good health.
In addition, pectin a substance present in pear is diuretic and thus may have mild laxative effect, thus making the fruit ideal for persons those who suffer by constipation.
Its richness in fibre and low glycaemic index makes pear a smart snack for those with diabetes. The bloodstream slowly absorbs a pear’s carbohydrate, preventing a spike in blood sugar and helping to control blood glucose levels.
Supports strong bones
Pears contain boron which is used by the body to retain calcium. The fruit may, therefore, help in preventing osteoporosis.
Pears are often recommended due to their high levels of vitamins and minerals for pimple. Minerals are helpful in neutralising skin acids and regulating the pH balance of the skin. This is beneficial in preventing and treating acne.
Some women may find it difficult to become pregnant due to fluctuations in insulin levels. One way to balance insulin levels is by eating fresh fruits. Fruits contain natural sugar which is beneficial for the reproductive system. This is the reason some health experts recommend pears for fertility. Pears also supply the body with essential vitamins and minerals that improves body immunity and aid in fertility.
Maintains dry skin
Pears can serves as a form of face mask for oily skin. Add half a teaspoon of honey and one tablespoon of body cream to one mashed ripe pear. Apply the mixture over the face and neck and let it remain for about 15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.