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Ask Dr. Nandi: Breastfeeding linked to reduced risk of stroke later in life

Posted at 5:42 PM, Aug 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-22 19:51:58-04

If you’re a breastfeeding Mom, you just may have a lower risk of stroke.

A new study from the University of Kansas finds it may help protect mothers decades after giving birth.

I’m a huge fan of breastfeeding and this study adds another fantastic benefit to its list.  

What the researchers did was to look at data that tracked health habits of over 80,000 women. They found that for post-menopausal women overall, those who breastfed their babies had a 23% lower stroke risk when compared to women who had never breastfed.  

But those numbers really changed when they looked at ethnicities. Non-Hispanic black women had a 48% lower risk, Hispanic women had a 32% lower risk and white women had a 21% lower risk.  

The length of time the Moms breastfed ranged. 51% nursed their babies between one and six months.  22 % did 7 to 12 months and 27% did 13 months or longer.  

It appears that the longer a mother breastfeeds, the higher the protection.  But even if you breastfed one month or six months, the researchers still found a 19% lower risk of stroke. And that’s really amazing. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends Mothers exclusively breastfeed, which means no other foods, for six months.  

After that foods can be introduced while breastfeeding up until at least 12 months.

Breastfeeding can continue after a year as long as both Mom and her baby wants to.  

I think if you’re pregnant you should definitely consider it. Because stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death for women. And for both Hispanic and non-Hispanic black women over the age of 65, it’s the leading cause of death overall.  

So breastfeeding could be a natural way for women to help improve their health in the long run. It’s also extremely beneficial for babies as well.  

But I know it’s a very personal decision and some women chose not to.  

Everyone, including men, can lower the risk of stroke by exercising, not smoking, eating healthy, and keeping cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control.