Breastfeeding Can Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
By Chaka Mickle
It is well known that breastfeeding
is what’s best for both mom and baby. For mothers, breastfeeding
burns about 500 calories per day, making it easier to shed those
pounds gained during pregnancy. Breastfeeding also helps lower
the risk of breast and ovarian cancers for mothers who have breastfed.
For babies, mother’s milk
is made specifically with the right amount of fat, sugar, water
and protein that changes to meet their needs. Breast milk contains
antibodies that help infants fight off certain illnesses and diseases,
which can lead to a decrease in ear infections, allergies, asthma
and certain childhood cancers.
From the heart
But did you know that breastfeeding might also lower the risk
of heart disease for your little one later in life? Research has
shown that babies who are breastfed exclusively have lower risk
factors for heart disease than those who were formula-fed. These
risk factors include lower glucose, cholesterol, C-reactive protein
(a marker for heart disease) and adiponectin levels (a protein
that affects the body’s processing of fat).
According to an October 2000 study
that was published by the Archives of Disease in Childhood,
infants who were exclusively breastfed for at least 10 days had
lower glucose and cholesterol levels than infants who were formula-fed.
It is thought that biologically active substances like growth
factors and hormones that are found in breast milk may be responsible
for a lower insulin response and higher lipid metabolism in breastfed
A study published in May 2004 by
The Lancet revealed that levels of the C-reactive protein
were lower among breastfed infants than those who were formula-fed.
Another study that was conducted in May 2004 by Cincinnati’s
Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that breast milk
contained the protein adiponectin. Adiponectin affects how the
body processes sugars and fats, which can lower the risk of obesity
(a risk factor for heart disease).
So what does this mean?
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States
for both men and women. More than 930,000 Americans die of heart
disease each year, and more than 64 million Americans live with
it. Approximately 75% of heart disease can be attributed to preventable
risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels,
diabetes and obesity.
Breastfeeding may not prevent heart
disease, but it can lower the chance that your bundle of joy will
suffer from heart disease in the future. Breastfeeding is one
thing you can do for your baby now with benefits that will last
© Chaka Mickle