Posted on Jul 24, 2019, 4 p.m.
The next time you are thinking about getting that really spicy dish you may want to rethink it as a recent long term international study has found that a spicy diet can lead to dementia, as published in the journal Nutrients.
“Chili consumption was found to be beneficial for body weight and blood pressure in our previous studies. However, in this study, we found adverse effects on cognition among older adults,” lead researcher Dr. Zumin Shi from Qatar University explains in a statement.
Over a period of 15 years the diets of 4,582 adults aged 55+ was analyzed for intake of chili; dried and fresh chili pepper consumption was tracked, sweet capsicum and black pepper were excluded from this study; those who consumed over 50 grams of chili per day were found to have nearly double the risk of developing poor cognition as well as decline in overall memory according to the researchers, and those that were slimmer exhibited even more significant memory loss.
Those who consumed the most spicy foods, in general, had a lower income, less body mass, and exercised more frequently than those stuck to milder flavors. Based on this the team theorized that skinnier people are more susceptible to chili intake which may explain why they displayed more prominent memory loss.
“Chili is one of the most commonly used spices in the world and particularly popular in Asia compared to European countries,” co-researcher Dr. Ming Li says. “In certain regions of China, such as Sichuan and Hunan, almost one in three adults consume spicy food every day.”
In past research capsaicin has been shown to promote fat loss, speed up metabolism, and to hinder vascular disorders, this is the first time impact on cognitive function has been investigated. It was noted that additional research is required to fully understand the connection between dementia and chili pepper as other variables such as education levels can also play a role in cognitive decline.
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