A new study has revealed babies who are breastfed will be less likely to suffer from heart disease later in life.
Research carried out over a 20-year period showed those fed on breast milk grew more slowly than those on formula.
And the report revealed that babies who grow fast - regardless of their weight at birth - are at a higher risk of heart disease and strokes in adulthood.
The study, published in The Lancet, examined 216 teenagers aged between 13 and 16 who were given either breast milk or formula as babies in the early 80s.
Scientists assessed levels of cholesterol as well as evidence of the c-reactive protein (CRP) which - when found in high concentrations - is linked with atherosclerosis, an arterial disease, reports itv.com
According to medicalnewstoday.com scientists say the benefits are all linked to the body’s inflammatory response, which is linked to a person’s metabolism. In other words, breast feeding alters your metabolism and consequently your body’s inflammatory response.
Many scientists and health experts think that colostrums is the vital ingredient in breast milk that is doing all this. Colostrum is present in the mother’s milk during the early days of breast feeding. It is low in fat and rich in protein; it also has many antibodies which protect the newborn from infections. Infections cause an inflammatory response. Inflammatory responses are closely associated with elevated risks of developing asthma, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Mother’s milk has fewer calories than formula milk. Many think that breast fed babies grow more slowly and more regularly. They say that formula fed babies grow faster and in spurts (during the early months of life). Dr. Singhal believes that the effect formula milk may have in overfeeding the baby early in life can alter its metabolism and leave it more exposed to health problems later in life.
70% of newborns are breastfed in the USA. 15% of one-year-olds are breastfed at the age of one. Many health organisations, including WHO, say that the minimum time for breast feeding should be six months. For best health, the baby should be breast fed for two years, they say.