Being popular is good for our health. But not just for our mental health, as researchers have said it can now affect our hearts.

Researchers at Harvard University have found that the levels of protein, which are a major factor in heart attacks and strokes, are higher in people who are socially isolated.

The research was conducted on 3,500 men and women, who had between 2 and 32 friends.​ However as part of the study they looked at the number of people that named them as a friend, rather than the amount of friends they actually thought they had.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Researchers said: 'What matters is how others see us, not how we see them.'

The protein that the researchers studied was fibrinogen, a protein that is made by the liver and helps stop bleeding by helping blood clots to form. If its levels stay high for a while in the body then it can increase someone's possibility of having a heart attack or a stroke.

The participants who had been named by lots of people as being a friend had lower levels of fibrinogen. But interestingly, other people involved in the research that had been rarely described as a friend had more of this protein in their blood.

The researchers said they need to do more research to find out why friendship is so important, but they said possibilities could be that those with more friends are less stressed as they have a better work/balance life and also friends could be encouraging them to live a more healthy and active life.


What do you think?