Nuts are of extraordinary food value, as may be seen by studying their composition and nutritive values as compared with other foods of protein nature.
Studies of the biological value of nuts as a source of protein have been made by eminent nutrition scientists. Osborn, Harris, Van Slyke and Cajori demonstrated that the proteins of nuts are “at least equal to those of meat.” In fact, nuts are of superior value because they are free from cadaveric poisons. Animal meats are objectionable not only for moral reasons but also for hygienic reasons. According to Cajori, growth-promoting vitamins are present in nuts such as the almond, walnut, filbert, pine nut, hickory, chestnut and pecan.
The digestibility of nuts is greater when they are masticated to a paste or fine pulp. For too rapid eaters and poor chewers, nuts should be previously ground to a fine pulp.
The advantages of nuts over flesh foods are many:
(1) Animal proteins are charged with tissue wastes of the animals from which they come. Nuts contain no wastes.
(2) Furthermore, animal proteins are in a state of decomposition, and are charged with cadaveric poisons and micro-organisms- Nuts are aseptic, free from germs. Fresh, dried or salted beef contains 3,000,000 to 30,000,000 bacteria to the ounce (Kellogg)- Hamburger contains a billion to the ounce. Nuts are free from animal parasites, such as tape-worms and other worms found in fish and in meat such as pork.
(3) A great advantage of nuts is that they keep for months without spoiling.
(4) Another advantage is that they require no cooking, frying, broiling, or spicing.
(5) The mineral content of nuts is one-third grain per ounce. This is more than any other foodstuff contains, with the exception of legumes. Certain nuts are especially high in lime content- The almond contains 1 1/2 grains of lime per ounce; the filbert has 1% grains per ounce.
The iron content of nuts is quite high as compared with fruits and vegetables- It is greater than that of cereals, and superior to that of meat (Kellogg).
However, nuts are highly concentrated. Vegetables are watery and a greater amount of them may be eaten with safety than nuts. One can cat a pound of fruit or vegetables at one meal, while one can eat only a couple of ounces of nuts at a meal with equal safety.
The daily requirement of lime by the body is about 15 grains. One fourth of that may be supplied by a portion of nuts (about two to four, ounces).