The Surprising Way Being In Love Affects Women's Health

As you think about ways to avoid getting sick, one thing you may not have thought about is how your relationships play into health. But research shows that for women, falling in love provides a boost to the immune system that particularly protects against colds and viruses. A study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology detailed how scientists studied genes in 47 women in new relationships over a two-year period. Results showed decreases in stress and depression, and increased activity in genes associated with immunity among women who fell in love, according to Insider. Those who did not fall in love showed no changes.

The study's author, Damien Murray, a professor at Tulane's School of Science and Engineering, told Insider that results could indicate the body's way of preparing for more close intimate contact, and also the possibility of pregnancy.

More ways love affects health

That's not the only positive thing love does for the body. Research has consistently shown that falling in love produces dopamine in the brain, which promotes a feeling of happiness, according to TIME. As love matures, the body releases oxytocin in the brain, which produces a feeling of being bonded and reduces stress.

Loneliness has also been proven to have detrimental effects on health, including increased inflammation, higher rates of heart disease, and depression. "Chronic inflammation is bad for health, and loneliness is one of the biggest predictors of mortality," said Murray.

He added that future research will focus on the long-term effects of love on health, studying couples who have weathered the years happily together.

On a practical level, couples in love look out for one another, and that has health implications as well. Couples monitor one another's health and encourage doctor visits more regularly. One study showed that partnered people noticed melanoma cases earlier, according to TIME, since another person can be more likely to spot changes in moles.

Don't go looking for love in all the wrong places, but if you are in love, rest easier knowing that it's positively impacting your health.