The most simple way to think of the paleo diet is that “if you can kill it or pick it up off the ground and eat it as is”… then it fits in the paleo diet. Basically if it is naturally occurring and in its raw natural state then it meets paleo criteria. Chia seeds sit inside small pods on the chia plant, can be shook off and eaten as they are without any preparation. Most foods contain higher nutrition in their raw form.
The Mayans would collect these seeds by simply holding a basket underneath the plant and tapping them with a reed. A very simple collection method straight from the plant and ready to eat. They also created a flour from the seeds used to make tortillas and a gruel that was made with water. Neither of these fit into the paleo diet since they are prepared foods. While chia has many uses, the seed is perfect the way it is.
In fact, one of the main advantages that chia has is that unlike flax seeds which have a very hard outer shell making it difficult to absorb any nutrition…chia seeds are very porous and allow water to be absorbed into them very easily. This means that they are incredibly easy to digest. Combined with the high amounts of fiber they have, the chia gel created from the water absorption is filling and beneficial to the digestive system.
As far as what some people have to say about chia seeds benefits and the paleo diet there should be more research into the validity of what they call “anti-nutrients” and the effects they might have on the nutrients in the seeds. The same study should research if there are any changes in the absorption of these nutrients by the human body. Until hard evidence proves otherwise, the usage of the seeds for thousands of years stands testament to the benefits for both health and nutrition.
For the millions of people who have and do eat them to this very day, we have seen the effects first hand and know that there are many positive nutritional benefits of chia seeds. The effects they have on the body and certain ailments are incredibly beneficial. Lowered cholesterol levels are one of the most popular experienced benefits along with more energy and better digestion due to fiber.
Paleo Diet Recipes With Chia Seeds
Since all vegetables fit in the paleo diet, its simple to slice up your favorite vegetables and throw them together with some lettuce or spinach then top it off with chia seeds. Using them as a topping and not a main staple is the best way to use them other than eating a handful every once and a while.
By mixing chia seeds with raw honey, other raw nuts and dried fruit you can make high fiber protein bars that fit in the paleo diet. Dry them out by placing them in the fridge or use a dehydrator so that they keep their shape. Dehydrated bars will also last a lot longer.
Many salad dressings can be made that fit into the paleo diet. For an example take avocado, blend it with olive oil and add a little salt. Many salad dressing recipes can be made this way by taking olive oil and mixing it with certain fruits or vegetables. A great vinaigrette can be made by taking raspberries and olive oil and blending till even. Add salt or other spices to flavor. Its that simple.