We’re pretty sure this won’t come as a surprise, but a new study has found that pets are not only good for your brain, but they’re good for your body, too. Research data (via Psychological Reports) suggests that petting animals can also increase your immunity by boosting your immune antibodies.
A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology also showed that infants with a dog in the home had higher levels of immune system chemicals. And it doesn’t just stop at dogs: A different study (via the New England Journal of Medicine) showed that children growing up around farm animals had an increased innate immune response, as well as decreased allergies and asthma.
But perhaps the most notable way animals help boost the immune system is by providing stress relief. Chronic stress has been proven to reduce our immune system function. Stress also increases the likeliness of unhealthy lifestyle choices that can help you get through it, but may negatively affect the immune system, like drinking alcohol, eating junk food, or smoking (via Simply Psychology).