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A Surprising Way to Boost Your Health

A Surprising Way to Boost Your Health

Remember when you were a kid and you’re mother would tell you to go out and play? I suppose a few moms were trying to get us out of their hair. But – for the most part – our moms just figured all that sunshine and fresh air had to be doing us some good.

Of course, now we know our mothers were right. Get out and being active really does contribute to good health. Sunshine triggers vitamin D production in our skin. And activity builds strong hearts and lungs.

But recent research shows there’s another benefit we get from the outdoors. And we get this benefit whether or not we go outside to play. We usually take it for granted. But just being around this common outdoor feature appears to make us healthier.

So, what am I talking about? Trees. And over the years, we’ve learned they can have a huge effect on our health.

One of the first big lessons we learned from trees came during the days of the “dust bowl.” Dry weather and wind stripped the topsoil from endless acres of farmland. The problem? Farmers had cut down all the trees to make it easier to plow their fields.

Nowadays, farmers plant rows of trees to act as windbreaks. This helps the topsoil stay in place. And richer soil means healthier fruits and vegetables make their way to your table. The extra nutrients from healthy soil are almost like taking nutritional supplements.

Numerous studies have linked living around trees to better physical and mental health. An Australian university team found that living near plenty of trees boosts people’s chances of feeling mentally fit by 60%.1

And in a classic case of “your mother was right,” Cornell researchers discovered this benefit also applies to kids.2

Trees are healthy for your pocketbook, too.

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) studied the use of trees in the parched city of Glendale, AZ. In spite of requiring heavy irrigation, the trees paid the city back more than double their investment every year.3

And one of the biggest benefits was soaking up storm runoff. As rainwater makes its way to lakes and streams, it picks up fertilizer residue and other toxins. Trees soak up a lot of this water, and pull many of these toxins out of the environment.

To add to their health benefits, trees suck ozone – a major part of smog – and particulate emissions out of the air. Glendale’s 21 thousand trees remove 1-1/4 tons of these pollutants from the air every year. And, of course, trees “breathe in” carbon dioxide and “exhale” oxygen – making breathing easier for everyone.

But perhaps the most graphic evidence of how trees can boost your health comes from a brand-new study that looks at the destruction of trees.

A number of years ago, an insect – the emerald ash borer – was introduced to the U.S. It spread and began killing ash trees by the millions. More than 100 million trees have been lost.

Researchers from the US Forest Service and several universities looked at the damage. They compared the health of people in areas devastated by the borer with people whose area hadn’t been affected.

After carefully adjusting for other variables, they found a big difference. People in areas unaffected by the wholesale killing of trees were living longer.4

Trees clearly provide a lot of health benefits. And it’s easy to take advantage. Just plant some trees.

If you have a yard, adding a couple of trees not only improves your chances of enjoying better health. It can also increase your property value.

If you don’t have a yard of your own, you can check with the Arbor Day Foundation (www.arborday.org) or the U.S. Forest Service (www.fs.fed.us) for planting programs in your area.

Yours in continued good health,

Best Life Herbals Wellness Team


1 Sugiyama, T., et al, “Associations of neighbourhood greenness with physical and mental health: do walking, social coherence and local social interaction explain the relationships?” J Epidemiol Community Health. 2008; 62(5): e9.
2 “How Natural and Built Environments Impact Human Health,” Dept. of Environmental Design and Analysis, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University.
3 “Trees in Glendale are Paying Huge Dividends,” USDA Forest Service. Feb 25, 2005.
4 Donovan, G.H., et al, “The Relationship Between Trees and Human Health: Evidence from the Spread of the Emerald Ash Borer,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Feb 2013; 44(2): 139-145.
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