Diabetes can be a major cause of certain types of cancer like breast and ovarian cancer. Researchers say that women can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by breastfeeding and following a vegan diet.
A 30-year-old study conducted by the researchers in Kaiser Permanente shows the connection between breastfeeding and type 2 diabetes.
After observing over 5,000 adults between the age group of 18 and 30, the researchers found that women who breastfeed their babies for over six months had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar compared to the women who did not nurse their babies.
"The incidence of diabetes decreased in a graded manner as breastfeeding duration increased, regardless of race, gestational diabetes, lifestyle behaviors, body size, and other metabolic risk factors measured before pregnancy, implying the possibility that the underlying mechanism may be biological," Erica Gunderson, Lead Author and senior research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, said.
According to the study, women who breastfed their babies for six months or less had a 25 percent lesser risk of developing diabetes. While the participants who breastfed their babies for more than six months had a 47 percent reduction in diabetes risk.
"Previous evidence showed only weak effects on chronic disease in women, now we see much stronger protection from this new study showing that mothers who breastfeed for months after their delivery, may be reducing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to one half as they get older. This is yet another reason that doctors, nurses, and hospitals, as well as policymakers, should support women and their families to breastfeed as long as possible," Tracy Flanagan, Medical Director at Women's health for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, said.
Meanwhile, a study by the American Diabetes Association in collaboration with American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and the Physician's Committee of Responsible Medicine shows the role of vegan diet in lowering the risk of diabetes.
"A plant-based diet can prevent, reverse, and manage diabetes," stated the Physician's Committee of Responsible Medicine.
Explaining further, AACE stated, "Lifestyle therapy begins with nutrition counselling and education. All patients should strive to attain and maintain an optimal weight through a primarily plant-based diet high in monounsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids."