Breastfeeding May Lower Women’s Postmenopausal Stroke Risk
You’ve probably heard that, in addition to nourishing babies, breastmilk bestows countless benefits for little ones, including decreased risk for infection, disease, and sudden infant death syndrome.
Breastfeeding is also a boon for moms—it reduces your risk for breast and ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions. Recent research published in JAMA reveals another plus for moms who’ve nursed: a lower risk for stroke.
Breastfeeding slashes postmenopausal stroke risk by 23%
Researchers examined data from the Women’s Health Initiative, an ongoing study that’s focused on finding ways to prevent chronic disease among postmenopausal women. They looked at information from more than 80,000 women who’d given birth to at least one baby and provided information about their breastfeeding history.
Researchers found that postmenopausal women who had a history of breastfeeding for at least one month had a 23% lower risk for stroke compared with those who never breastfed.
You can lower your stroke risk
Even if you did not breastfeed, there are several steps you can take to decrease your chances of having a stroke, such as:
Maintaining a healthy weight and following a heart-healthy eating plan
Limiting your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day
Engaging in physical activity on most days of the week
Discuss your stroke risk with your healthcare provider.
To learn more
Find out about other steps you can take to reduce your risk for stroke.