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Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol
New research suggests that breastfeeding may help protect women from heart disease later in life.
Women who had breast-fed for more than 12 months over their lives were nearly 10 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease in their 60s, researchers reported in Obstetrics & Gynecology. They also were less likely to develop risk factors for heart disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
"We found that the longer women breast-feed, the lower their risk of heart attacks, strokes or heart disease," said Dr Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, one of the researchers, to U.S. News & World Report.
Dr Nieca Goldberg, director of the New York University Langone Medical Center Women's Heart Program, cautioned the news source that the study showed a correlation, not necessarily a cause-and-effect relationship, and that any number of factors could be involved. It is possible that women who choose to breast feed tend to be healthier in general, or breast feeding might really cause physiological changes. "Breast-feeding really mobilizes fat stores and has an impact on cholesterol, Goldberg noted, "It also increases levels of [the hormone] oxytocin, which can relax blood vessels."
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