Barley and Battle: Exploring the Nutritional Powerhouse of Gladiator-inspired Chocolate!

Our barley, dairy-free chocolate is a nutritional powerhouse that combines the rich flavours of cocoa with the wholesome benefits of barley. Join us on an adventurous journey as we explore the surprising history of barley and its role in fuelling the legendary gladiators. Discover how this ancient grain has found a new home in our delectable dairy-free chocolate, offering a wholesome and delicious treat that will energise your taste buds and leave you craving for more!

Gladiators: Strength and Style

Famed for their strength, courage and bravery, Roman gladiators needed a diet that would afford them a powerful physique and endless stamina. After all, when you’re fighting to the death, you don’t want to run out of steam halfway through combat.

Eager to display their power and influence, wealthy landowners routinely hosted gladiatorial displays, with some ‘advertisements’ for gladiatorial events even being recovered in Pompeii. While most gladiators were slaves, their popularity and fame meant that a substantial number of volunteers signed up to take the gladiator oath and devoted their lives to their ‘troupe owner’.

Perhaps the earliest form of ‘celebrity’, gladiators became well-known for their fighting styles and performance, but a high-energy diet was required to enable gladiators to maintain peak physicality.

What Did Gladiators Eat?

When an ancient gladiator grave was uncovered in Ephesus (now in modern-day Turkey), experts conducted bone analysis to give us a great insight into what the average gladiator consumed, and many were surprised by the results.

Contrary to popular belief, gladiators were mostly vegetarian, with some even consuming a plant-based diet. So, if you want to hone your physique, incorporating vegan dark chocolate, vegan chocolate buttons or vegan chocolate sweets into your diet could be a good idea!

Following expert analysis, it was confirmed that a gladiatorial diet consisted mainly of barley, wheat and beans, which might be why gladiators were frequently referred to as hordearii, or ‘barley men’. But what is it about this humble cereal grain that made it so popular amongst the world’s most courageous fighters?

Benefits of Barley: What’s on Offer?

Science, history and archaeology have confirmed that barley was a staple ingredient in a gladiatorial diet, so what health enhancing benefits made the grain eponymous with these fighters? Read on to discover some of the health benefits barley can offer…

Rich in Minerals and Vitamins

The right mix of vitamins and minerals are critical to a healthy body but, in today’s society, we rarely get enough of these important compounds. In barley, however, you’ll find vitamin B1, copper, chromium, selenium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, fibre, molybdenum and niacin.

From improving heart health and enhancing muscle mass to relieving tension and maintaining bone and teeth health, these vitamins and minerals can have a transformative effect on your well-being, which might be why barley was such a popular food amongst gladiators.

Boosting Heart Health

Whether you’re consuming barley with dairy free chocolate or soaking it in oat milk chocolate, you’ll love the heart health benefits it offers. The grain contains beta-glucans, which bind to bile acids and are removed from the body, taking ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol with it.

Just like dairy free dark chocolate, a healthy dose of barley can help to promote heart health and assist in lowering dangerous levels of LDL cholesterol. Commonly associated with heart disease, stroke and peripheral artery disease, keeping LDL levels within a healthy range is an important part of maintaining your well-being, so consuming barley could be a top priority for anyone who wants to boost their heart health.

Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

As barley contains a relatively large amount of magnesium, it can help to reduce your risk of developing diabetes by improving insulin secretion and lowering your blood sugar levels. Gladiators required almost superhuman levels of stamina to stay the course in a battle, so sugar spikes and slumps were definitely a no-no.

With a healthy diet containing barley, however, you can enjoy more consistent blood sugar levels and avoid the energy dips that often follow a ‘sugar high’.

Build More Muscle

There’s no other way to say it: gladiators were ripped. Low body fat and high muscle mass gave these fighters the best chance of success, so increasing muscle mass was always a top priority for up-and-coming gladiators.

Fortunately, barley is a great source of plant-based protein, which means it helps the body to enter an anabolic state, which enables us to build and maintain muscle tissue. From adding barley to savoury dishes to enjoying barley-infused artisan vegan chocolate UK, there are many ways you can increase your plant-based protein intake with this versatile grain.

Feel Full for Longer

The demands of fighting in the arena meant gladiators undoubtedly had large appetites but the satiating effects of barley could have helped in making them feel fuller for longer. In fact, many people maintain that barley can assist with weight loss when consumed as part of a healthy diet because of its high fibre content.

Enhanced Bone Strength

The vicious battles that took place in Ancient Rome were no-holds-barred affairs that saw gladiators using a variety of weapons to defeat their opponents. Of course, weak bone structure meant fighters were quickly felled (and a broken bone wasn’t easily treated in the 8th century BC!)

With barley’s mix of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and zinc, however, gladiators could enhance their bone strength and density to help prevent against injury.

Get a Taste of Ancient Rome

Few of us have the mettle to take on the role of a gladiator but you can get a taste of how these courageous fighters lived with our delectable Gladiators chapter. Featuring popped barley and a 60% dark-milk chocolate blend, it’s an exquisite combination of sweetness with a hint of savoury that never fails to impress.

So, what are you waiting for? To get a taste of Ancient Rome, explore our Gladiators chapter now and let your tastebuds take you on a journey to new lands and times.