The Jakarta Post
Researchers have found that the risk of stroke for mothers who breastfeed is 23 percent lower compared to those who never breastfeed their children. (Shutterstock/File)
Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of stroke post-menopause, a recent research study has suggested.
Published in Journal of the American Heart Association, the study, which was conducted by experts from the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, is said to be the first that shows a connection between breastfeeding and stroke risks in women, kompas.com reported. Strokes are a top-four cause of death among women aged 65 and above.
In the initial phase of the study, a team led by Lisette T. Jacobson monitored 80,191 women with an average age of 63.7 years over the course of 12.6 years. All women had at least one child and 58 percent said they breastfed their baby, as opposed to feeding them formula milk.
The study found that the risk of stroke for mothers who breastfed was 23 percent lower compared to those who never breastfed their child. Meanwhile, breastfeeding for a short period of time – between one to six months – was connected to a 19 percent reduced risk of stroke.
As the findings are observational, experts have not discovered the relationship between breastfeeding and reduced risk of stroke. However, the study notes that breastfeeding is good for both the mother and child's health.
"Several studies have shown that breastfeeding can lower the level of breast cancer, ovarium cancer and diabetes type 2 risks on mothers. This new finding shows the benefit of breastfeeding to protect your body from heart diseases and other cardiovascular risk factors," said Jacobson on Thursday. "Don't say no to breastfeeding; at least for six months to optimize its benefit for you and your baby."
Jacobson added that breastfeeding was only one of many factors that had the potential to protect the body from stroke. Regular exercise, consuming healthy foods, not smoking and maintaining normal levels of cholesterol and sugar also reduce the risk. (kes)