Barbara Quinn: Trees feed body and soul

Call it spring fever. Call it procrastination. This time of year Id rather be planting something outside than sitting at my computer. And what luck! The theme of this years Earth Day, on Friday, is Trees for the earth. Lets get planting.

These guys are serious. The goal, say Earth Day organizers, is to plant 7.8 billion trees around the world over the next five years.

Why trees? They are green in more ways than one. Trees absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In a single year, according to Earth Day sponsors, one acre of mature trees can absorb the amount of C02 produced by driving an average car for 26,000 miles. And trees help the air smell good details for your garden because they can trap odors and foul-smelling pollutant gases in their leaves and bark.

Heres a short quiz to see what you know about trees, including their contribution to our nutritional health:

Arbor Day a day set aside each April to celebrate the importance of trees originated in: a) Nebraska; b) California; c) the National Mall.

(Answer: a. More than a million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day in 1872, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.)

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, trees can supply food and nutrients from: a) fruit; b) nuts; c) roots; d) leaves; e) bark.

(Answer: All are correct. However, not all parts of all trees are edible. Check with an expert before you imbibe.)

Spices harvested from trees include: a) allspice; b) Tabasco sauce; c) bay leaves; d) cinnamon.

(Answers: a,c, d.)

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, researchers from Texas A&M University found that within five minutes of looking at scenes of trees, study participants: a) fell asleep; b) had daydreams about Tarzan; c) had measurably lower blood pressures and muscle tension.

(Answer: c.)

To plant a details for your garden tree that will thrive in your area: a) ask a garden professional; b) dig a hole and pray; c) enter a tree name or zip code at and the Arbor Day Foundation will help you find a tree thats best for planting in your state.

(Answer: All can be helpful.)

Lest we take these giant blessings in our lives for granted, the Arbor Day Foundation reminds us that trees are amazing. They clean air and water, slow climate change and feed the human body and soul. All we need to do is plant and care for them.


Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator affiliated with the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She is the author of Quinn-Essential Nutrition (Westbow Press, 2015). Email her at


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