Coffee and tea drinkers have a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes, suggest new findings from University of Sydney researchers, reported by BBC News.

For their study, researchers analyzed 18 separate studies of about 500,000 people. They found that people who drank three or four cups of coffee or tea daily cut their type 2 diabetes risk by a fifth or more.

Further analysis showed drinking additional cups of coffee daily cut diabetes risk by 7 percent. But it’s not the caffeine. Researchers indicated the same effects occurred in decaffeinated coffee drinkers.

Scientists aren’t sure which ingredients are responsible for the healthful benefits, though they suspect they could be magnesium or antioxidants.

“The identification of the active components of these beverages would open up new therapeutic pathways for the primary prevention of diabetes mellitus,” the study authors said.

In the meantime, researchers suggest reducing diabetes risk by using a proven approach: diet and exercise.

“What we can be sure of is that the development of type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to lifestyle, which means many cases could be prevented by keeping active and eating a healthy balanced diet low in fat, salt and sugar with plenty of fruit and vegetables,” said Victoria King, MD, of Diabetes UK.

Type 2 diabetes usually occurs after age 40. It develops when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or cannot effectively use it. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that allows cells to use glucose (a sugar) for energy.

Type 2 diabetes treatments include medication, insulin, diet and exercise.

Read about singer Angie Stone’s battle with diabetes here.