One more reason to breastfeed: Microbes in human milk inhibit the growth of E. coli

Now, you can add protection from diarrhea and E. coli to the growing list of reasons why mothers should breastfeed their babies. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism, authors revealed that a mother’s milk prevents the growth of pathogenic Escherichia coli and boost immunity.

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame Australia and the University of Western Australia mixed E. coli with human milk and bovine milk (or cow’s milk). They incubated these in a shaker for six hours and evaluated the mixed suspension using cell culture and the Kjeldahl methods.

Of the results, the researchers concluded that human milk inhibited the growth of harmful E. coli. “Minimal changes in the non-protein nitrogen indicated that there was minimal degradation of immune proteins,” they added. “[Human milk] may protect the infant by inhibition of the growth of pathogenic E. coli.” (Related: Breastmilk: The gift that keeps on giving… Babies who were exclusively breastfed have less than half the risk of eczema as teenagers than those that were not.)

Natural ways to up your milk supply

While some mothers have no problems with their breast milk supply, others aren’t that lucky: It takes time for their milk to flow freely. For some mothers, they can’t even produce milk for one reason or another.

These moms need not panic. There are natural ways to increase breast milk supply.

  • Fenugreek seeds — Mothers can take these sprouted seeds to improve milk quality. They can also chew on them and take them with a glass of milk to prevent constipation.
  • Garlic — This is the top choice for increased lactation in nursing mothers. Toss some stir-fried cloves in your soup, or add them to your favorite vegetable. You can also stir-fry garlic and add it to steamed rice.
  • Black sesame seeds — A rich source of calcium, black sesame seeds are believed to raise milk supply.
  • Carrots  A glass of carrot juice contains vitamin A that helps with lactation and improves milk quality. You can take carrots raw, steamed, or pureed into a bowl of soup. During winter, blend pureed carrots with warm milk and sugar.
  • Barley — This not only increases lactation but also hydrates you along the way. Try boiling barley and take it with water throughout the day, or toss it in your vegetable salad.
  • Asparagus — This must-have food for nursing moms stimulates hormones to promote lactation. It’s also rich in fiber and vitamins A and K. Wash, chop, and boil asparagus with milk. Strain and drink to raise milk supply.
  • Brown rice — A study published in the World Journal of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences says hormone stimulants in brown rice promote the production of breast milk. Brown rice also provides nursing moms the energy they need after childbirth. Another benefit they have is stimulating appetite so that the nursing mother can eat nutritious food for her and her baby.
  • Apricots — These are high in calcium and fiber that promotes lactation. Try adding apricots and walnuts in your oats.
  • Chickpea — This protein snack helps nursing moms produce more milk and is rich in calcium, vitamin B, and fiber.

Babies deserve only the best. That means breast milk from the one person who loves them most – Mom.

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