Roman gladiators had to be lean and fast and strong. They were known as ‘hordearii’, meaning ‘barley-eaters’. Studies on gladiators and contemporary Romans from Ephesus (Turkey, 2nd and 3rd century AD) confirm this. Interestingly, studies on barley show that barley’s soluble fibre content provides food for friendly gut bacteria, which, in turn, produce short chain fatty acids in the gut, reducing inflammation and improving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Barley is also associated with lowering cholesterol and improving heart health...
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