Women: Breastfeeding Helps Slash Your Diabetes Risk in Half
September 15, 2010
Researchers have discovered that women who breastfeed are half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes. It may have something to do with the additional weight that expectant mothers gain — breastfeeding helps them lose extra abdominal fat more efficiently.
While abdominal fat is important for a gestating baby's development, it can be bad for the mother's health after delivery. It has been linked to a greater risk of heart disease as well as diabetes.
According to Time Magazine:
“Animal studies have helped reveal other reasons ... Breastfeeding ... can increase a mother's response to insulin, allowing her to break down glucose more effectively and keep sugar metabolism in check. Lactation also inhibits hormones that promote growth hormone activity, which can also affect insulin levels.”
U.S. News & World Report also offers four reasons you should breastfeed your child for your own sake:
- Reproductive cancers. Prolonged nursing lowers your risks of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer. This could be because it suppresses the hormones that play a role in these cancers.
- Heart disease. Women who nurse for at least 24 months during their lives have a 23 percent lower risk of developing heart disease. Nursing may also decrease dangerous visceral fat.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. A number of studies have linked breastfeeding to protection from rheumatoid arthritis. One found that nursing for a total of two years decreased the risk by 50 percent.
- Diabetes. Nursing protects against type 2 diabetes, possibly because lactation makes cells more sensitive to the hormone insulin.