Tea has long been linked with a variety of health benefits. Now, a new study claims that consuming four cups of tea a day could help prevent type 2 diabetes.

The study, conducted in China and presented at this year’s European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, was based on a review of 19 cohort studies that included the data of a million people.

While tea has been linked with anti-oxidating properties, for the purposes of this study, researchers wanted to know if the drink had an effect on type 2 diabetes, conducting a cohort study and a dose-response analysis to get a full picture of tea’s effects.

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Participants filled out a questionnaire where they listed out their tea drinking habits while also including information on their daily routines, including their exercise schedule, and whether they drank alcohol or smoked. This part of the study provided no clear answers. Researchers then turned to cohort studies, which showed a fuller picture of patient’s health over a decade. Here, they found that patients who consumed tea regularly were associated with a 17% decrease in type 2 diabetes.

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“Our results are exciting because they suggest that people can do something as simple as drinking four cups of tea a day to potentially lessen their risk of developing type 2 diabetes”, said the study’s lead author Xiaying Li.

No matter the type of tea, the gender of the person drinking it, or the area where they lived, the effects were the same. At least four cups of tea a day equaled fewer odds of developing type 2 diabetes.

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While researchers need to study the situation more clearly in order to be fully sure of their results, the study is promising. It could provide a simple way for people to be healthier while they do something that brings them a little bit of joy.

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