Breastfeeding may be the Band-aid
your heart needs to keep it healthy
We all know that breastfeeding is good for your baby, but new research shows that it's also good for your heart. And the longer you breastfeed, the greater the benefits. Here's what the research showed:
1. Breastfeeding lowers your risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.
2. Breastfeeding helps you lose pregnancy weight by burning about 500 extra calories a day.
3. Breastfeeding has also been shown to improve glucose tolerance and the metabolism of cholesterol—it lowers your risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
4. The longer you breastfeed, the greater the benefits. Researchers did not see a significant difference in heart disease statistics unless a woman breast-fed for at least 6 months.
5. The greatest health benefits came after a year of breast-feeding: The odds of having high blood pressure dropped by 12 percent; the odds of diabetes decreased by 20 percent; the rates of abnormal cholesterol levels went down by 19 percent; and the overall risk of cardiovascular disease fell by 9 percent, compared to women who never breast-fed.
Researchers say the study just shows an association not a cause and effect. There could be more factors at play than simply breastfeeding. For example, they say, women who choose to breastfeed may be healthier in general.
Will you breastfeed longer knowing that it might be helping keep you healthier?