Researchers from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia released a study recently claiming a protein-rich diet may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The study examined the diets of 541 Australians and measured the levels of an amino acid called amyloid beta in their brain, which is a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Those with higher levels of protein in their diet were less likely, the study found, to have high levels of amyloid beta in their brain. Thus, their risk of developing Alzheimer’s was reduced.

Participants were divided into three groups based on their protein intake. Those in the highest protein consumption group, around 118 grams per day, were 12 times less likely to have “high” levels of amyloid beta than those in the lowest consumption group, which pegged protein intake at 54 grams per day.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, was the first ever study to examine the relationship between protein consumption and amyloid beta.

Beyond merely the intake of protein, the next step is to further examine what role factors such as gender, genetics, age and metabolic factors play in the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and protein consumption.

Protein is found in particularly dense concentration in animal products such as chicken, beef, pork and lamb.