Washington: Mothers who breastfeed their babies are less prone to heart diseases that develop later in life, a study has found.
The findings of the study were presented at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, ECE 2019.
“These findings indicate that breastfeeding lowers the risk of heart disease in women. However, this is an association study only, we are now interested in looking at establishing the underlying causes of this protective effect,” said Prof Irene Lambrinoudaki, University of Athens.
Breastfeeding has earlier shown to reduce the risk of postpartum depression and the risk of certain cancers in women. It has also been established that breastfeeding can help mothers to maintain healthy body weight and regulate their blood sugar.
Researchers measured markers of heart and blood vessel health in postmenopausal women, in relation to their history of breastfeeding.
After adjusting for other cardiovascular health risk factors, including body weight, age, cholesterol levels, and smoking habits, the data indicated that women who breastfed had significantly lower levels of heart disease and heart disease risk indicators.
This effect was even more significant in women who had breastfed for longer periods of time.
Prof Lambrinoudaki comments, “If we can show causality for the protective effect, women will have one more reason to nurse their infants, beyond the already documented benefits of breastfeeding for short- and long term health of both them and their children.”