Marriage is healthier for men than lowering their blood pressure or even quitting smoking, a new study says. Researchers at the University of Arizona looked at 1,715 people aged 57 to 85 and found that married men had less of a protein that has been linked to stroke, depression, and heart disease. Guys not wearing a ring had almost twice as much C-reactive protein, which the liver produces in response to inflammation.
"This shows how strong the effect of being married and having strong social bonds can be," says a British professor. "Men don't necessarily get the same kind of support from their friendships—that's why marriage is so important." But this doesn't mean married men can "let themselves go," another expert warns. Researchers found little difference in CRP levels of married and unmarried women.