Archive For The “Health” Category

Mushrooms are Packed with Savory Flavor and Nutrients

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Packed with savory flavor and nutrients that many other types of produce don’t have, mushrooms are a tasty and healthy addition to all kinds of dishes and cuisines.

Dozens of varieties are available year-round because they’re grown indoors.

’Shrooms are the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle. A single portabella mushroom has more potassium than a medium-sized banana, and fungi are a leading source of selenium, an antioxidant that strengthens the body’s immune system and can help prevent heart disease.

Packaged fungi outperformed bulk mushrooms in dollar and volume sales, according to IRI data for the four weeks ending Nov. 6, 2022, with prepackaged options representing almost 96% of pounds sold. Eight-ounce packages were, by far, the biggest sellers. Cut or prepared mushrooms made up half of pound sales, reflecting shoppers’ desire for convenience.


Fresh mushrooms have a lot going for them, from nutritional advantages to sustainability. The Mushroom Council highlights these fungi benefits: 

  • Families can stretch their grocery budgets by incorporating meaty-tasting mushrooms into recipes that call for ground beef — such as burgers and meatballs.  
  • Substituting mushrooms for meat can enhance weight loss and boost nutrition without leaving consumers hungry after a meal. 
  • Mushrooms rank high in sustainability. An environmental footprint assessment found that production of a pound of mushrooms requires less than 2 gallons of water, 1

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“Nutritional…Potatoes are America’s Favorite Vegetable”

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DENVER — It’s the New Year, which means many of us are trying to eat better, save money and find more time in our day. Cara Harbstreet, registered dietitian and intuitive eating expert, recommends a kitchen hero that’s a solution for it all: the potato!

Potatoes are America’s favorite vegetable, but they’re more than just delicious,” said Harbstreet. “They’re an affordable, nutritional powerhouse with a long shelf life and faster cook times than you think!”

Providing almost a third of the recommended daily vitamin C, potatoes also have the most potassium out of the 20 most popular fruits and vegetables. They also have 3 grams of plant-based protein, which is more than any commonly eaten vegetables other than dried beans, plus 2gm of fiber to help you feel fuller longer.

Potatoes are affordable and have a long shelf life, allowing families to stretch their dollars. “I know I hate it when I buy vegetables at the store, and they go bad before I have a chance to cook them,” said Harbstreet. “With potatoes, you’ve got fresh produce that lasts for weeks! They’re a great combo of nutrition, value and deliciousness.”

When it comes to carbohydrates, quality matters, and potatoes are a great choice! Carbs are our brain’s primary fuel and a key source of muscle energy. Potatoes are a complex carbohydrate, providing vitamins and minerals. In fact, most of the carbs we eat should be complex carbs like potatoes.

So how can families enjoy this incredible vegetable without being in the kitchen all day? Harbstreet has some hacks to share that will make cooking potatoes a breeze.

“My first tip is to cut potatoes into smaller pieces to roast for faster cooking – or even to heat in the air fryer,” said Harbstreet. “Roasted potatoes are so simple to make and can then be used throughout the week to make dishes like bowls and burritos more filling and nutritious. You can use all kinds of fun seasonings to mix it up, from classics like garlic powder to Za’atar if you’re looking for adventure. Plus, cooked and cooled potatoes have more gut-friendly resistant starch.”

A great example is the Sheet Pan Roasted Turkey and Herbed Potatoes dish. One pan gets you a complete meal, and by throwing in some extra potatoes, you can get a jump start on your cooking for the next few days! And you can do this with multiple combinations of proteins, potatoes and other vegetables you like.

“My next hack is to put your pressure cooker or slow cooker to work,” said Harbstreet. “You can start cooking potatoes in these appliances and then refrigerate them for lightning-fast prep or choose your own adventure meals. Once started in the pressure cooker or slow cooker, it’ll take minutes to finish them in the oven, microwave or air fryer.”

Families can do this with baked, mashed or roasted potatoes, or go for a full meal like Green Chili, Corn and Potato Chowder. The soup can be whipped together in minutes on the stove top after getting the potatoes started in the slow cooker.

“Finally, the freezer is your friend. Cook up a big batch of freezer-friendly potato soup – like this Tuscan Kale and Potato Soup aka Zupa Toscana that you can freeze to reheat and enjoy when you’re ready,” said Harbstreet. “I always recommend freezing soups into smaller portions so you can take out exactly what you need. One tip on this recipe – wait to add the cream until it’s reheated for that just-cooked taste.”

For more information or recipe inspiration, please visit

About Potatoes USA

Potatoes USA is the national marketing and promotion board representing U.S. growers and importers. Potatoes USA, the largest vegetable commodity board, was established in 1971 by potato farmers to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. For more information on Potatoes USA’s mission to “Strengthen Demand for Potatoes,” visit

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Onions 52 Partners With Registered Dietitian For Heart Health Month

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February is American Heart Month, or “Heart Health” month, a time dedicated where consumers of fresh fruit and vegetables can prioritize their cardiovascular health.

“Onions are full of health benefits, and produce marketers have the unique opportunity to help educate consumers on the many advantages of increasing consumption of allium vegetables during American Heart Month”, said Falon Brawley, Director of Marketing at Onions 52.

Brawley continued, “We are delighted to partner with Registered Dietitian, and Certified Diabetes Educator, Laura Ashley Johnson, RDN, CDE., to help promote easy and creative ways to increase onion consumption. While we can’t claim ‘An onion a day will keep the doctor away’, there are several studies on the health benefits of onions that are compelling, and research compiled by the National Onion Association (NOA) shows that onion consumption may contribute to increased cardiovascular health.”

“Not only are onions a versatile and delicious ingredient in many recipes, but research has shown they’re also rich in nutrients that can benefit the body in so many amazing ways”, noted Laura Ashley Johnson, RDN, CDE.

Brawley confirmed, “Onions of all varieties not only provide great flavor to almost every meal, but they also contain key vitamins and minerals, quercetin, and other potent antioxidants that may offer unique heart health benefits. Laura Ashley’s easy to make, onion-centric recipes will be shared on the Onions 52 website [] and social media channels beginning February 21”.


Onions 52, Inc. was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Syracuse, UT. They are the country’s leading grower-shipper of yellow, red, white, and sweet onions. For more information, visit

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Blueberries: Heart-Smart Choices for American Heart Month

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FOLSOM, Calif. – The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is encouraging consumers to make heart-smart choices – like grabbing a boost of blue – in February for American Heart Month. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that blueberries can be part of eating patterns to improve heart health, especially as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. To promote more heart-healthy boosts of blue, USHBC is sharing blueberry recipes, nutrition information, research and more throughout the month. Health professionals in USHBC’s “Blue Crew” will also contribute original recipes, blog posts and social media content as part of the campaign. 

American Heart Month serves as a valuable reminder to keep heart health top of mind, as heart disease continues to be a major health concern in the U.S. The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions, including coronary artery disease, the most common; it decreases blood flow to the heart and can cause heart attacks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites heart disease as the leading cause of death among both men and women today. 

One of the best ways to help fight heart disease is to maintain an overall healthy dietary pattern and lifestyle, according to the American Heart Association®. Blueberries are Heart-Check certified through the American Heart Association Heart-Check Food Certification Program. Each serving (a handful or cup) is a good source of fiber, which helps support heart health and digestive health. And, whether fresh or frozen, blueberries provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K and manganese.

“The heart is at the center of everything we do, and keeping it healthy isn’t just about exercise – it’s about nutrition, too. Blueberries are a heart-healthy choice, delivering a wide variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals,” said Manuel Villacorta, MS, RDN, an internationally recognized, award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist, author, and founder and owner of MV Nutrition. “Even better, every boost of blue is packed with flavor, and that’s important. When you enjoy what you eat, you’re more likely to stick to those healthy eating habits. Simple, delicious blueberries make it easy.” 

The February promotion is USHBC’s first “power period” of 2023, which is part of Grab a Boost of Blue, a strategic positioning and call to action backed by new tools and consumer research for retailers. The Heart Health Month toolkit, available now, features plug-and-play social posts and digital ads, tip sheets, recipe cards and other resources. The toolkit will be promoted in USHBC’s health professional and consumer e-newsletters, along with a new consumer landing page. The Blueberries and Heart Health page provides blueberry health information and engages fans with an interactive quiz to find Heart-Check certified recipes tailored to their preferences. 

USHBC also is engaging consumers through American Heart Month activations with 10 key blueberry retailers. In addition to vibrant blueberry displays, activations include a variety of consumer communications and resources unique to each retailer, such as feature ads, in-store audio ads and announcements, email blasts, social media activations, broadcast segments with local media, and more.    

Several partnerships also will help amplify blueberry and heart health messaging – in February and beyond. During American Heart Month, USHBC will send an e-blast to WebMD’s 80,000 heart-health focused consumers, driving to them to the landing page and quiz, as well as a research-focused e-blast to SmartBrief’s eatrightPRO audience of registered dietitians and nutrition professionals. The Produce for Better Health website also will have a blueberry display ad and featured blueberry recipe. Later in the year, USHBC will participate in the American Heart Association’s 2023 Heart Challenge/Wall Street Run & Heart Walk in New York as a sponsor.

“Heart health is a serious topic, but we make it fun for consumers to form healthy habits – like taking a quiz to find heart-healthy blueberry recipes. A boost of blue makes every meal more nutritious and delicious,” said Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. “We’re always excited to partner with trusted health professionals and share simple, tasty ways to enjoy blueberries, supporting healthy hearts and happy taste buds.”


About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is an agriculture research and promotion group, representing blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and overseas, and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. The blueberry industry is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at

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Avocados are a Heart Healthy Fruit and Cholesterol-Free

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Avocados are healthy fruit since the fruit is a great source of fiber, folate, Vitamin K, and nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that can help support healthy living.

According to the USDA, they’re also a cholesterol-free and natural source of heart-healthy fats, which help the body absorb vitamins like D, A, K, and E. Due to the fruit’s high fiber and healthy fat content, avocados make for a healthy addition to meals and snacks which can help shoppers feel satiated and assist in weight management.

“Avocados are the ultimate heart-healthy option consumers can incorporate into their diets and it’s important for them to know premium quality avocados are available right now,” said Raina Nelson, President/CEO Westfalia Fruit Marketing USA LLC .

“Avocados are extremely versatile and there are endless ways spark visual inspiration for shoppers by cross-merchandising fruit with utensils and ingredients that pair well, such as seasonings and lean proteins, in addition to popular uses in smoothies, toast, sandwiches, salads, homemade spreads, and more, she said.

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Dietitians at The Giant Co. are Leading Weekly Produce Zoom Classes and More

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The Giant Co. of Carlisle, Pa., is inviting shoppers to jump-start the new year with tips and recipe inspiration for creating balanced and affordable meals and snacks. Its team of dietitians is offering free, live classes via Zoom for families and chefs of all ages this January and February. 

“Bring more balance to your meal planning this year,” Holly Doan, dietitian with The Giant Co., said in a release. “Whether incorporating more produce, filling up with fiber or trying some new quick and easy meals, let The Giant Company dietitians help you start fresh in 2023.”

Here’s a look at The Giant Co.’s dietitian classes offered in the next couple of months:

  • Produce Spotlight: Join the dietitians every Monday at 12 p.m. in January to explore seasonal produce and all the ways it strengthens immune systems with featured recipes like Thai Mango and Cucumber Salad and Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast. Then in February, the dietitians explore red, yellow, green and blue color groups and the many benefits of eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies.
  • Wellbeing Workshops: In January, discover new finds and familiar favorites in the Guiding Star-rated products in each grocery department throughout a virtual store tour series. Celebrate Heart Health Month in February with classes like Mediterranean diet, filling up with fiber and heart-healthy flavors.
  • Build a Balanced: In January, keep your family warm and satisfied all winter long with inspiration and recipes from the dietitians’ Build a Balanced Soup series Tuesdays at 12 p.m. in honor of National Soup Month. In February, the series continues highlighting easy and affordable ideas for building a balanced spaghetti night, salad, dessert and oatmeal bowl.
  • Family Meals at 5: The Giant Co. dietitians are here to help build easy, quick and balanced meals in under 30 minutes every Tuesday at 5 p.m. January classes feature a Take 5 theme, where recipes like corn-stuffed peppers and teriyaki pork and pineapple with rice will be five or less ingredients. Then in February, stay in and celebrate Valentine’s evening with sirloin steak with asparagus and tomato orzo.

The Giant Co. dietitians are also kicking off the new year with some special classes on select Thursdays at 7 p.m. Consumers can check out Ask the Dietitian classes on Jan. 5 and Feb. 23, Movie Trivia Night for National Popcorn Day on Jan. 19 and Big Game Party on Feb. 9. 

Also, visit The Giant Co. dietitians’ YouTube channel for a new Meal Deal Series, dropping every Friday morning. In these short videos, consumers will learn all about the featured Meal Deal, as well as specials and offers in that week’s circular. 

All classes are free to attend, but advance registration is required for each class. A complete listing of all The Giant Co. virtual classes and ingredients needed for each class are also available on the event page. In addition, customers can earn 50 Choice Rewards points when they register, provide their card number and attend the entire class.

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Study: Slower Memory Decline is Linked to Antioxidants in Flavonols in Fruits, Veggies, Tea

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Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables and other foods are believed to help to slow memory decline. The findings are reported in a recent study of the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

People who eat or drink more foods with antioxidant flavonols, which are found in several fruits and vegetables as well as tea and wine, may have a slower rate of memory decline.

Flavonols are a type of flavonoid, a group of phytochemicals found in plant pigments known for its beneficial effects on health, according to a news release.

“It’s exciting that our study shows making specific diet choices may lead to a slower rate of cognitive decline,” study author Thomas Holland of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago said in the release. “Something as simple as eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more tea is an easy way for people to take an active role in maintaining their brain health.”

The study involved 961 people with an average age of 81 without dementia, according to the release. Participants in the study were followed for an average of seven years. Besides filling out questionnaires about their food intake, the participants in the study also completed annual cognitive and memory tests including recalling lists of words, remembering numbers and putting them in the correct order.

The study also asked about levels of education, how much time participants spent doing physical activities and how much time they spent doing mentally engaging activities such as reading and playing games, according to the release.

The people were divided into five equal groups based on the amount of flavonols they had in their diet. While the average amount of flavonol intake in U.S. adults is about 16-20 milligrams (mg) per day, the study population had an average dietary intake of total flavonols of approximately 10 mg per day. The lowest group had an intake of about 5 mg per day, and the highest group consumed an average of 15 mg per day, which is equivalent to about 1 cup of dark leafy greens.

To determine rates of cognitive decline, researchers used an overall global cognition score summarizing 19 cognitive tests. The average score ranged from 0.5 for people with no thinking problems to 0.2 for people with mild cognitive impairment to -0.5 for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

After adjusting for other factors that could affect the rate of memory decline, such as age, sex and smoking, researchers found that the cognitive score of people who had the highest intake of flavonols declined at a rate of 0.4 units per decade more slowly than people whose had the lowest intake. This is probably due to the inherent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of flavonols, Holland said in the release.

The study also broke the flavonol class down into the four constituents: kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin and isorhamnetin. The top food contributors for each category were: kale, beans, tea, spinach and broccoli for kaempferol; tomatoes, kale, apples and tea for quercetin; tea, wine, kale, oranges and tomatoes for myricetin; and pears, olive oil, wine and tomato sauce for isorhamnetin.

People who had the highest intake of kaempferol had a 0.4 units per decade slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those in the lowest group, the study found. Those with the highest intake of quercetin had a 0.2 units per decade slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those in the lowest group. And people with the highest intake of myricetin had a 0.3 units per decade slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those in the lowest group. Dietary isorhamnetin was not tied to global cognition.

The study shows an association between higher amounts of dietary flavonols and slower cognitive decline but does not prove that flavonols directly cause a slower rate of cognitive decline.

Other limitations of the study are that the food frequency questionnaire, although valid, was self-reported, so people may not accurately remember what they eat.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, and USDA Agricultural Research Service.

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New Study: Pistachios Contain as Many Antioxidants as Blueberries

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Cornell University researchers found that pistachios contain antioxidants on the same level as blueberries, pomegranates, cherries, and beets. The surprising amount of this substance found in this particular fruit is among the highest, a press release by American Pistachio Growers said.

The team analyzed pistachios using two different methods to measure the antioxidant potential of pistachios: Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) and Cellular Antioxidant Activity (CAA). 

While these tests don’t prove a specific health outcome, they suggest a high level of antioxidant compounds within pistachios. The fruit is also high in copper and manganese and a source of selenium, zinc, riboflavin and Vitamin E. 

All these nutrients contribute to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. This is particularly interesting as research suggests that a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods may even help to reduce the risk of premature death.

Oxidative stress is the imbalance of free radicals, or oxidants. Free radicals attack healthy body cells and this damage is thought to contribute to inflammation and aging in addition to chronic health conditions, including heart disease and cancer. 

“We believe the high antioxidant activity of pistachios may be due to the unique compounds in pistachios including vitamin E, carotenoids, phenolics and flavonoids. The combination or interaction of these beneficial antioxidants, bioactive compounds, along with other nutrients, is likely what contributes to the many health benefits we have seen in pistachio studies from recent years,” said Dr. Rui Hai Liu, Professor of Food Science at Cornell University.

The study also found that pistachio phytochemical extracts showed potent antiproliferative activities against human breast, liver and colon cancer cells in vitro with exceptionally high activity seen against the human breast cancer cells. 

The extracts were shown to inhibit cancer growth in all three cancer cells without causing cytotoxicity to the cells. The researchers report that this area of study is worthy of future research to determine how pistachio extracts are blocking the growth of cancer cells as seen in this new study. 

Pistachios used in the Cornell study were grown in California, which have a different nutritional profile than those grown in other countries.   

Pistachios grown in the U.S. are also a plant-based source of complete protein and can be part of a balanced and varied diet and healthy lifestyle. 

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Americans Overestimate Nutrition Knowledge, Study Shows

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In the midst of the holiday season with numerous gatherings and celebrations centered around food, new data suggests Americans believe they understand nutrition but in reality they really don’t.

MyFitnessPal, the leading global nutrition and food tracking app for achieving health and wellness goals, shares results from its recent Nutrition IQ survey[1], uncovering that while the majority of Americans (81%) claim to know nutrition basics, 91% of the general population says they don’t have any idea of how much protein, fiber, carbs, sugar and salt they consume daily.

Overall, results found that Americans’ nutritional knowledge is fairly elementary. While most people do know the basics of serving sizes, when it comes to actually identifying foods by nutritional value, they are far off. On average, Americans overestimate calories (by 57 calories) and protein (by 5 grams), while underestimating carbs (by 4 grams) and fats (by 4 grams).

In fact, the majority (77%) of respondents mistakenly believed that two fish tacos have less calories than a cheeseburger while they actually contain 110 calories more.

“With the constant barrage of information flooding TV screens and social media feeds along with conflicting recommendations from experts, it’s no wonder that many Americans are confused when it comes to their nutritional needs,” explains Tricia Han, CEO of MyFitnessPal.

“Remembering the basics while juggling a busy daily life is precisely what makes MyFitnessPal the perfect personal nutrition coach. With its robust food database, users have the power to learn about what they’re consuming and how it’s effecting their overall wellbeing and health, all in the palm of their hand.”

Brushing up on the basics

While 78% of respondents were able to accurately identify bowel movements as a primary benefit of fiber, they were unable to name additional benefits including cholesterol management, bone support or sugar management. This doesn’t just stop at a basic understanding of nutrition; Americans also had trouble identifying nutritional benefits of specific foods:

-Despite 71% of respondents being able to identify avocados as a healthy fat, a majority (93%) of Americans underestimate how many grams of fat are in an avocado, with 66% underestimating by at least half.
-Americans were more likely to overestimate how many calories are in a cheeseburger (77%) compared to the 29% who overestimated the calories in a Caesar salad.
-Most Americans also overestimate the amount of protein in common foods. For example, although a banana contains only one gram of protein, the average American believes it contains 10 grams of protein.
-Unsurprisingly, Americans struggled to accurately identify carbs and fats in foods, often underestimating by about four grams. The majority of Americans underestimate how much fat is in both Caesar salads and

avocado by half, while also underestimating the total carbs in bananas and black bean burgers by half.

The lack of nutrition knowledge does not come as a total surprise based on other key findings. For instance, the survey showed that a majority of Americans don’t look up nutritional values before going to a restaurant or when cooking at home.

Additionally, when preparing meals at home Americans admitted that maintaining focus on their budget and serving size/meal planning outweigh nutritional value when deciding what to cook.

About MyFitnessPal
MyFitnessPal is the No. 1 global nutrition and food tracking app for achieving health goals. Since 2005, MyFitnessPal has empowered over 200 million users in over 120 countries to log food intake, record exercise activity and weight, track wellness habits, and achieve their health and fitness goals. As one of the world’s most trusted and leading resources on nutrition, MyFitnessPal’s mission is to ignite powerful nutrition and wellness change in members by empowering them to succeed on their own terms through personalized data-led insights, guidance, and unwavering support. With one of the largest food databases in the world comprising over 14 million foods, access to over 500 recipes, over 150 workout routines, 200 exercise demos and over 35 connected fitness partners, MyFitnessPal provides users with tools for positive healthy change. The MyFitnessPal app is available on the App Store and Google Play store. To learn more, visit or follow MyFitnessPal on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter.

1 Research was fielded by MyFitnessPal from July 2022 to August 2022. MyFitnessPal surveyed 1,450 nationally representative participants between the ages of 18-64 across the United States.

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Pears Rank High in Dietary Fiber

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“Pears are a healthy and nutritious selection for the whole family that can be enjoyed a bit longer, when stored properly,” says Jim Morris, marketing manager at Pear Bureau Northwest. “Simply move your ripe pears to the refrigerator to extend their life 3-5 more days. With food prices on the rise, choosing produce that keeps and that offers a nutritious bang for the buck is all the more important.”

Pears rank higher than almost any other fruit when it comes to dietary fiber, with 6 grams or 21% of the recommended daily value in just one pear. Fiber aids in gut health and supports bowel regularity. Fiber-rich diets can also help in the prevention of various conditions and diseases, such as heart disease and some types of cancer.

Further, pears contain other essential nutrients, such as vitamin C and potassium. These compounds are vital for normal metabolism, tissue repair, proper immune function and protection from infectious diseases.

How to Store and Ripen Pears
Pears are among the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree. Rather, they reach maturity when stored at room temperature. This makes pears a perfect choice for decorative fruit bowls or weekend produce shopping that will last throughout the week. To determine when a pear is at its juiciest, USA Pears suggests to “check the neck.” If a pear yields when gentle pressure is applied with a thumb to its neck near the stem, then it’s ripe and ready to eat. Once ripe, pears can be stored in the refrigerator to slow aging and extend the fruit for a few more days.

To learn more about the health benefits of pears and explore recipes, visit

About USA Pears
The Pear Bureau Northwest, promoted under the brand USA Pears, was established in 1931 as a nonprofit marketing organization to promote and develop markets for top-quality fresh pears grown in Washington and Oregon. The organization represents nearly 900 grower families and 50 packers and shippers. Combined, Washington and Oregon are the nation’s largest pear producing region. They produce approximately 88% of all fresh pears grown in the United States, and more than 96% of all winter pears (non-Bartlett varieties such as Bosc and Anjou). They also account for 92% of America’s fresh pear exports.

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