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Apple vs Pear - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Apple
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Pear

INTRODUCTION

Apples and pears are members of Rosaceae family and are believed to originate in Asia. Both fruits have white flesh and are covered with skin. They have a core containing seeds.

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" says famous English expression. Is it really true? And what’s about a pear? Doesn’t it keep the doctor away? In order to find out the answers, let’s conduct a comparative analysis of their nutrition features and health impact.

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT COMPARISON

Before passing to the next question I would like to dwell on the nutritional content comparison, which is the key point for the further discussions.

Minerals comparison

As you can see from the charts of comparison below, apple and pear are equal in Potassium, Phosphorus and Sodium, but pear contains more Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, and, especially Copper and Zinc. So the winner is pear.

Vitamins comparison

What about vitamins? There is no drastic difference either, but, anyway, apple wins here, it’s higher in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, while pear is higher in Vitamin B3 and Vitamin K. They are equal in Vitamin C and Vitamin B2.

Macronutrients comparison

Apples and pears are the perfect products in case of diets. Although they are rich in sugar like all fruits, the glycemic index is low. They are rich in fiber and antioxidant content, low in calories as you can see below, but anyway pear is the champion here with higher fiber and lower sugars.

HEALTH IMPACT

Health benefits

In spite of the fact that there are fewer studies about health benefits of pears and their components, than about apples and their components; let’s run a little comparison of their health impact.

Apples are rich source of phytochemicals, including flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolics, which may help to reduce the risk of different diseases by various mechanisms, like a cell signaling, antioxidant and cancer cell antiproliferative effects. These effects decrease the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease. According to the review (1) which involves several reports prior to May 2004, apple consumption is particularly associated with reduced risk of lung cancer.

According to another review (2) published in September 2011 significant risk reduction associated with apple intake was observed in cancer at several sites, including oral cavity and pharynx (18%), esophagus (22%), colorectal (30%), larynx 41%, breast (24%), ovary (24%), prostate (7%).

High content of soluble fiber of apples and pears reduces the levels of low density lipoprotein or “bad cholesterol” and total cholesterol in plasma according to the study published in January 2012(3). Apples contain flavonoid epicatechin which may lower blood pressure. On the other hand, pears contain quercetin, which not only reduces blood pressure, but also has anticancer properties.

The next worth mentioning point is the role of pear and apple intake in reduction of risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. According to the review published in January 2017 (4) consumption of apples and pears was associated with 18% reduction of type 2 diabetes risk. It is ensured through an antioxidant and fiber contents of these fruits.

According to the review (5) published in 2015 due to their fiber content pears may improve gut health and prevent constipation.

Risks

Except for benefits, apples and pears may have some risks for health. They contain huge amount of fructose compared with glucose, and over-consumption may intensify pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea in people with irritable bowel disorders.

Besides, apple seed contains powerful poison cyanide, so overeating of apple seeds could be fatal.

In addition, apples are quite acidic which makes them up to four times more harmful to teeth than soda.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Pear originated in China in the foothills of the Tian Shan Mountains approximately 5000B.C. In the Odyssey Greek poet Homer refers pears as “a gift of gods”. The Chinese considered a pear as a symbol of immortality. Pear leaves had been smoked before tobacco became popular in Europe. Pear was sacred to several goddesses – Hera and Aphrodite in Greek mythology, Roma goddesses Juno and Venus, as well as to Pomona- the Roman goddess of fruitfulness. In ancient Greece pears were used against nausea as a natural remedy (6).

And what’s about apples? Apples originated in the Middle East more than 4000 years ago. Homer mentions about apple trees too in Odysseys. The Norse gods connect their immortality to apples. Apples also are mentioned in Arabian Nights. Apple is popularly known as a forbidden fruit of Eden. But actually there is not any notice about forbidden apple in the Bible.

APPLES AND PEARS HARVESTING AND STORING

Storage life of apples and pears depends on harvesting at the proper stage of maturity and proper storage.

Apples have several indicators of maturity, they are juicy, crisp, firm, well-colored and have characteristic flavor. Apples, harvested too early, are poorly flavored, sour, astringent, and starchy. On the other hand, fruits harvested too late are mushy and soft. The fundamental determinant criteria for maximum storage life are the temperature and relative humidity. At a temperature about 32?F and a relative humidity between 90 and 95 percent apples could be stored up to 3 to 5 months.

At the same time it isn’t preferably for pears to ripen on the tree, because they become gritty and poorly favored due to developing of stone cells in the fruit. Pears should be harvested when their color changes from a deep green to a light green and should be ripened indoors at a temperature of 60 to 70°F. In order to store pears for approximately 1 to 3 months it is necessary to preserve non-ripened fruit at a temperature of 30 to 32?F and a relative humidity of 90 percent.

Furthermore, there is a specific method for more long-term storage of apples and pears called controlled atmosphere storage. It helps to slow down the ripening and aging processes of stored fruits. The principle of this method is based on reducing the temperature to the lowest level possible without damaging the fruit by freezing, changing the atmosphere in a storing room by reducing the oxygen and increasing the carbon dioxide.

SUMMARY

It seems essential to emphasize that daily consumption of apples and pears is highly recommended for plenty of reasons. Due to their almost similar nutrient content both of them are considered to be useful in protecting against many serious diseases. Despite the conventional wisdom that apple contains a huge amount of Iron, we discovered that pear contains more. On the other hand, apple is richer in vitamins and antioxidants, which protect against cell proliferative and oxidative processes. And, however valuable they may be, it is crutial not to forget about the sense of proportion – every drug could be a poison.

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC442131/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183591/
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22400181
4.https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2017/fo/c6fo01378c/unauth#!divAbstract
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657810/
6. http://topfoodfacts.com/13-interesting-facts-about-pear/

Infographic

Apple vs Pear infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Apple
0
:
7
Pear
Contains more Iron +50%
Contains more Calcium +50%
Contains more Magnesium +40%
Contains more Copper +203.7%
Contains more Zinc +150%
Equal in Potassium - 116
Equal in Phosphorus - 12
Equal in Sodium - 1
Contains more Iron +50%
Contains more Calcium +50%
Contains more Magnesium +40%
Contains more Copper +203.7%
Contains more Zinc +150%
Equal in Potassium - 116
Equal in Phosphorus - 12
Equal in Sodium - 1

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Apple
6
:
3
Pear
Contains more Vitamin A +116%
Contains more Vitamin E +50%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +41.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +24.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +41.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +76.9%
Contains more Vitamin K +100%
Contains more Folate, total +133.3%
Equal in Vitamin C - 4.3
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.026
Contains more Vitamin A +116%
Contains more Vitamin E +50%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +41.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +24.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +41.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +76.9%
Contains more Vitamin K +100%
Contains more Folate, total +133.3%
Equal in Vitamin C - 4.3
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.026

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

Summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfils human daily needs, the more the summary score is
Vitamin Summary Score
4
Apple
5
Pear
Mineral Summary Score
3
Apple
5
Pear

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Protein
2%
Apple
2%
Pear
Carbohydrates
14%
Apple
15%
Pear
Fats
1%
Apple
1%
Pear

Comparison summary table

Pay attention at the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Apple Pear
Lower in Sugars ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Lower in Sodium Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable in case of diets?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Apple Pear
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

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Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sugars?
Pear
Pear contains less Sugars (difference - 0.64g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Pear
Pear is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.006g)
Which food is cheaper?
Pear
Pear is cheaper (difference - $0.1)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Pear
Pear is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Apple
Apple is lower in glycemic index (difference - 2)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food contains less Sodium?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sodium (1 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be definitely stated which food is richer in vitamins. See charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

In the column "Opinion" we made some assumptions which could be controversial. For instance we are assuming that less saturated fats is good for you. Please ignore this column if you have your own opinion.We marked the nutrients, comparison of which we considered as not meaningful, as "N/A"
Nutrient Apple Pear Opinion
Calories 52 57 Pear
Protein 0.26 0.36 Pear
Fats 0.17 0.14 Apple
Vitamin C 4.6 4.3 Apple
Carbs 13.81 15.23 Pear
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 0.12 0.18 Pear
Calcium 6 9 Pear
Potassium 107 116 Pear
Magnesium 5 7 Pear
Sugars 10.39 9.75 Apple
Fiber 2.4 3.1 Pear
Copper 0.027 0.082 Pear
Zinc 0.04 0.1 Pear
Starch 0.05 Apple
Phosphorus 11 12 Pear
Sodium 1 1
Vitamin A 54 25 Apple
Vitamin E 0.18 0.12 Apple
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.017 0.012 Apple
Vitamin B2 0.026 0.026
Vitamin B3 0.091 0.161 Pear
Vitamin B5 0.061 0.049 Apple
Vitamin B6 0.041 0.029 Apple
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 2.2 4.4 Pear
Folate, total 3 7 Pear
Folic acid (B9) 0 0
Trans Fat 0 0
Saturated Fat 0.028 0.022 Pear
Monounsaturated Fat 0.007 0.084 Pear
Polyunsaturated fat 0.051 0.094 Pear
Tryptophan 0.001 0.002 Pear
Threonine 0.006 0.011 Pear
Isoleucine 0.006 0.011 Pear
Leucine 0.013 0.019 Pear
Lysine 0.012 0.017 Pear
Methionine 0.001 0.002 Pear
Phenylalanine 0.006 0.011 Pear
Valine 0.012 0.017 Pear
Histidine 0.005 0.002 Apple
Fructose 5.9 6.42 Pear
The main source of information is USDA Food Composition Database (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Dietary Guidelines for Americans is used as the primary source for advice in this web resource
Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.