How well do you know your beets? For Corus Hotels’ Healthy January month, our Head Chef at Corus Hotel Hyde Park, Richard Cerphus, is exploring the amazing health benefits of the foods we should be eating more of, and sharing his favourite recipes for you to try at home.
Our health journey begins with the six fantastic benefits of incorporating beetroot into your diet. Originally overlooked in favour of the beet’s leafy greens, the beet root is now a certified superfood, naturally sweet and bursting with nutrients. Although they have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, beetroot can be eaten a few times a week to enjoy numerous health benefits.
Richard says: “Beets can be eaten in any form you choose: raw, cooked, semi-cooked, and juiced. I have been using beets in cooking throughout the year, not just the reds but also the golden ones. As it’s winter, you’re likely to hanker after food that’s comforting and filling, but light and easily digestible after all that heavy eating and drinking that occurs over Christmas! I want to share with you one of my all-time favourite dishes and the super simple recipe for Beetroot and Lentil Soup. I first tried this dish in 2004 when I visited a friend in Latvia, and I absolutely love it. Since then, I have modified it to increase nutritional value. But before I share my recipe with you, here are six reasons why you should add beets to your diet.”
6 Reasons to Love Beetroot
1. It lowers your blood pressure
Drinking a glass of beetroot juice daily can significantly lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Juicing vegetables is the most effective way of maintaining the nitrates often lost in the cooking process. The Nitric oxide created in your body will help to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow.
2. It’s rich in nutrients
Beetroot is high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fibre, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese, which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Don’t forget to eat your greens! Rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins A and D, the green leaves of the beetroot can be cooked in the same style as spinach.
3. It has anti-cancer properties
The rich crimson colour of the red beetroot contains betacyanins, naturally powerful cancer-fighting agents. Beetroot is extraordinarily rich in disease-fighting chemicals, making it a superfood that’s valued in scientific research into the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer.
4. It’s great for boosting your stamina
The values of beet juice seem never-ending! If you need a boost to make it through your next workout session, beetroot juice may again prove useful. A UK study has suggested that those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to work out for up to 16 per cent longer.
5. It fights inflammation
Beets are a fantastic source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protect cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress. It's known to help fight inflammation, protect your internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance when exercising, and is valuable in the prevention of numerous diseases.
6. It helps your body to detox
Music to our ears in January! Traditionally, beetroot is valued for its support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver. Acting as a cleanser for the liver, it helps the cells of the immune system to regenerate, purifying the blood while improving circulation and alkalising the entire body. Get that juicer out!
Beetroot & Lentil Soup
Warming for winter and healthy to boot. Similar to juicing, the nitrates from the beetroot are preserved well in this method of cooking, as they remain in the soup along with all of the other health-boosting nutrients.
· 100g beetroot, grated
· 50g lentils
· 30 g carrots, grated
· 30g onions, finely chopped
· 30g celery, finely chopped
· 30g leeks, finely chopped
· Juice of 1/2 lemon
· 2g bay leaves
· 10g fresh dill
· 1 litre vegetable stock
· 10g fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
· 15g coconut cream
· Salt and pepper to taste
· Gently sauté the chopped onion, leeks, celery and carrot in a pan until soft, then add vegetable stock and lentils. Bring to the boil and reduce heat.
· Add grated beets, garlic and bay leaves. Simmer for 15 minutes, then add the chopped dill, coconut cream, lemon juice, and fresh chilli. Cook for a further 5 minutes, or until thoroughly warmed through, season to taste, then serve and enjoy.
Feel rejuvenated this January with our delicious range of healthy cuisine in The Brasserie at Hyde Park, and treat yourself to a feel-good Afternoon Tea-Tox; the perfect antidote to the post-Christmas blues!