A 15-year study of 4582 Chinese adults aged over 55 found evidence of faster cognitive decline in those who consistently ate more than 50 grams of chili a day.
The study, led by Dr Zumin Shi from Qatar University, showed that those who consumed in excess of 50 grams of chili a day had almost double the risk of memory decline and poor cognition.
Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
‘With global dementia figures rising, understanding risk factors, especially those relevant to large populations like China, is certainly a hot topic to help us develop prevention strategies – something our researchers are working on all the time. But there were so many differences between the chilli lovers and abstainers in this study that it doesn’t give any conclusive evidence that eating spicy food will increase your risk of dementia.
Further research is needed to confirm a link between chilli and dementia so, for now, there’s no need to avoid the hot sauce.
‘This study didn’t assess dementia either – it only looked at memory and maths test results.’