Consuming more than 50 gms of chilli a day is not recommended.
People love adding chilli to food to add a pop of spice and an extra kick to it. But research shows that consuming more than 50 gms of chilli a day can increase the risk of dementia.
The study was conducted on 4,582 Chinese adults over the age of 55. It was found that there was more evidence of cognitive decline among those who consistently ate over 50 gms of chilli a day. Memory decline was even more noticeable and significant among chilli lovers. The study was published in the journal ‘Nutrients’.
Higher chilli consumption also resulted in lower BMI (Body Mass Index). This was proven by a study led by Zumin Shi from Qatar University. It showed that those who consumed in excess of 50 gms of chilli a day had almost double the risk of memory decline and poor cognition.
"Chilli 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," Zumin said.
Chilli intake included both fresh and dried chilli peppers but not sweet capsicum or black pepper, researchers said. "In certain regions of China, such as Sichuan and Hunan, almost one in three adults consume spicy food every day," Li said.
Capsaicin is the active component in chilli which reportedly speeds up metabolism, fat loss and inhibits vascular disorders but this is the first longitudinal study to investigate the association between chilli intake and cognitive function.
Those who ate a lot of chilli had a lower income and body mass index (BMI) and were more physically active compared to non-consumers. Researchers said people of normal body weight may be more sensitive to chilli intake than overweight people, hence the impact on memory and weight.