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…others drink Gatorade, or chocolate milk for the carbs, electrolytes, and calcium. But the ancient Roman Gladiators had their own post-workout recovery drink, full of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. And the secret ingredient was: ASHES!

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna analyzed the bones of Roman gladiators to learn more about what they ate. And discovered they were drinking a combination of water and plant ashes, which were consumed to fortify the body after physical exertion, and to promote better bone healing.

Fabian Kanz is a forensic anthropologist who led the research. He says ashes were the ancient way to replenish electrolytes.

So should we be adding plant ashes to our protein smoothies? Well, the scientists say they DO have some nutritional value. They contain high levels of calcium, which we need to maintain strong bones. But if you’re already eating Greek yogurt, kale, broccoli, and sardines – or taking a calcium supplement – you probably can skip the ashes.

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