A Chinese study shows that breastfeeding can dramatically reduce risk of heart disease and stroke in new moms. The findings add to other health benefits of breastfeeding such as weight loss and normalized blood pressure and blood sugar levels after delivery.
The latest study revealed that the longer a new mom breastfeeds her infant, the greater the cardiovascular benefits can get. A group of U.S. and Chinese researchers found that mothers that breastfed were 10 percent less likely to develop a heart disease or have a stroke than moms using formula.
For their study, the research team combed through data on 289,573 women of Chinese origin. Nearly all participants were mothers and none was at risk of stroke or heart disease when they submitted the data. The average age of the volunteers was 51.
After eight years, 16,671 women developed a heart condition with 23,983 having a stroke.
Heart Disease Risk Can Go Down 18%
The team noticed that women who breastfed their babies had a 9 percent lower risk of developing a cardiovascular condition and 8 percent lower chance of having a stroke. Mothers who breastfed for two years the risk was lower by 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively.
Study authors adjusted their findings for other factors that may influence results such as obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, smoking, diet, and level of physical activity.
Researchers couldn’t tell for sure why exactly breastfeeding is linked to such a major health benefit, but they believe the new mom’s metabolism may reset faster after giving birth through breastfeeding.
A woman’s metabolism undergoes dramatic changes during pregnancy as the mother needs to store fat to offer her baby enough energy to develop and for breastfeeding, which may in fact eliminate the stored fat quicker.