Breastfeeding makes a mom's heart healthier, says study
New research has found that, on top of its long list of benefits, breastfeeding also boosts heart health!
Breastfeeding offers a wide range of benefits for both baby and mom. It lowers the risk of infection in infants, acting like the baby’s first vaccine. It also boosts metabolism, reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and postpartum depression, among many other benefits.
Now, recent research has something new to add to its already long list of benefits. Breastfeeding has been found to improve heart health, by reducing the risk of heart attacks or strokes in later life.
Medical Daily takes a closer look at the study, which was published in the Journal of American Heart Association. Researchers found that breastfeeding moms had a 10% lower risk of developing heart disease.
“The findings should encourage more widespread breastfeeding for the benefit of the mother as well as the child,” Zhengming Chen, the study’s author, said in a statement.
Chen and his team followed 289,500 Chinese women closely over the course of 8 years. Most of them were already mothers at the beginning of the study, but none of them had any form of heart disease.
Throughout the course of the study, the women exclusively breastfed their children for about 12 months. 16,671 developed coronary heart disease and 23,983 suffered a stroke. In summation, the study found that the longer a woman breastfed her child, the healthier she was.
Co-author Sanne Peters clarified, however, that they could not “establish the causal effects,” citing the possibility that the observed health benefits of breastfeeding may be due to a “faster ‘reset’ of the mother’s metabolism after pregnancy.”
“Pregnancy changes a woman’s metabolism dramatically as she stores fat to provide the energy necessary for her baby’s growth and for breastfeeding once the baby is born,” Peters told Medical Daily. “Breastfeeding could eliminate the stored fat faster and more completely.”
Further studies are needed to fully confirm these claims.
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