Today’s featured food is a close relative of the apple, they just don’t seem to get the same attention. We have sayings about apples, such as An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and the association of gifting a favorite teacher with a perfectly polished apple. I can’t think of one famous quote about a pear. I have always liked sweet juicy pears though. I often crave them. The more I learn about their amazing health benefits, the more I realize how important it is to include them regularly in my diet.

I was happy to see pears as one of the featured foods in Anthony William’s book, Life Changing Foods. The granules in pears are full of phytochemicals, trace minerals and amino acids. Those minerals and amino acids help to expel poisons, such as DDT, from the body. The juice from a pear is high in electrolytes, which stabilizes blood sugar. Plus pears help to cleanse and purify the liver.

This amazing fruit aids digestion in other ways as well. It is antispasmodic, helping to soothe the linings of the stomach and intestinal tract. They alleviate food poisoning and calm an upset stomach. Pears feed beneficial bacteria while starving out unproductive bacteria, fungus and parasites. And pears help to prevent stomach and intestinal cancers.

The most amazing thing that I have learned about pears is how crucial they are in maintaining a healthy pancreas. My father died of pancreatic cancer, as did my best friend Laurie. In fact, pancreatic cancer seems to be on the rise. The pancreas reacts to the body’s stress. We abuse this vital organ by eating too much fried food and rich, sugary desserts.

Anthony suggests that heartbreak, betrayal and fear are hard on the pancreas as well. For pancreas protection and to heal this overworked gland and prevent pancreatic cancer, we must eat more pears.

I enjoy slicing up a pear and eating it raw, or combining it with other fruits for afternoon tea. This delicious and simple to prepare recipe from Life Changing Foods is wonderful for special occasions. I typically prepare apples together with pears when I make this recipe.

Cinnamon Baked Pears

• 4 pears, any variety

• 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

• 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pears in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Arrange pear halves face up on baking tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle each pear half with maple syrup, leaving some inside each center. Divide walnuts evenly into centers of pears and sprinkle cinnamon over the top of each. Bake 20 – 30 minutes, until pears are tender.

The pears, and apples if included, smell wonderful as they bake. Eaten warm from the oven, baked pears make a healthy, nutritious and comforting special treat.

Pears have become much more important to me, since embracing a plant based lifestyle. And, losing my dad and friend to pancreatic cancer creates a desire in me to be mindful of caring for myself and fostering a healthy pancreas and liver.

Writing this post, my pear craving has intensified. Time for a juicy, health boosting pear!

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