A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association might encourage women to breastfeed their children for a longer time. Researchers found evidence that a woman’s risk of suffering a stroke or a heart attack is linked to how long she spent breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding is healthy not only for the baby, but also for the mother.
- Women who breastfeed their children have a lower cardiovascular risk.
- Researchers think this happens because breastfeeding regulates the metabolism.
In fact, any amount of time spent breastfeeding counts. Results showed that women who breastfed their babies had a smaller risk of heart disease or heart attack by 9 percent, as compared to those who never breastfed. Also, the risk of developing a stroke later in life was 8 percent smaller.
However, this study does not highlight a clear link between lack of breastfeeding and cardiovascular problems. Previous research discovered that women who breastfeed their children have smaller risks to suffer from metabolic disorders, high blood pressure, or diabetes. The lack of these dysfunctions might indeed help maintain a healthier heart.
For the study, researchers recruited 289,573 Chinese women aged between 30 and 79, who had to answer questions regarding their breastfeeding habits. Also, they provided information on their disease history, and possible heart events they experienced. The participants have been selected between 2004 and 2008, and came from 10 regions of China, both rural and urban.
After eight years of observations, researchers identified around 50,000 cardiovascular disease cases. From all these, 16,671 instances were of coronary heart disease, while 23,983 were strokes. Then, they carefully analyzed all the results and found that the cardiovascular disease risk was smaller by 12 percent in those women who breastfed.
The study couldn’t tell why breastfeeding and a lower cardiovascular risk were related, but they think that this is the best method to set their metabolism back in place and to help women lose the weight gained during pregnancy.
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