(NaturalNews) Drinking as little as three-quarters of a cup of this one tea each day may cut the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by as much as 71 percent, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder that disrupts movement and balance.
Researchers examined the incidence of Parkinson's disease in 63,257 Chinese women and men, and compared it to their intake of various beverages as determined by in-person questionnaires. The researchers found that higher caffeine intake was associated with a 45 percent lower risk of Parkinson's disease.
Even after they adjusted for this effect, however, the researchers found that those who drank 23 or more cups of black tea each month (less than one per day) still had a 71 percent lower risk of Parkinson's disease than those who drank less.
"Black tea, a caffeine-containing beverage, showed an inverse association with Parkinson's disease risk that was not confounded by total caffeine intake or tobacco smoking," the authors wrote. "[This suggests that] ingredients of black tea other than caffeine appear to be responsible for the beverage's inverse association with Parkinson's disease."
In contrast to prior studies, the current research found no protective effect from green tea, only black.
Much prior research has focused on the health benefits of green tea, which is believed to derive from the tea's high content of the polyphenols epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC).
Ann Walker of the Tea Advisory Panel welcomed the recent research into black tea, noting that prior studies on Parkinson's disease failed to differentiate between green and black tea consumption.
"A key difference between black tea and green tea lies in the types and amounts of flavonoids," Walker said. "Green teas contain more of the simple flavonoids called catechins. But when black tea is made, the catechins undergo oxidation resulting in the generation of more complex varieties, called thearubigins and theaflavins."