Your secret source of muscle-boosting protein

One of the biggest barriers standing between older folks and stronger, healthier muscles has just been knocked down.

And if you're getting older and want to keep your strength as you age -- as I know you do -- you're going to want to pay close attention to this.

The latest science busts open a myth I often hear repeated by my own patients here at the Stengler Center. They're afraid to cut back on red meat and dairy, and it's not just because they like the taste.

They think they need the protein.

Well, friend, you DO need protein -- and lots of it -- to prevent the muscle loss, frailty, and even muscle-wasting conditions that come with age.

But the new study finds you DON'T have to get it from meat!

The plant sources of protein you already love -- like the cannellini beans at the heart of a warming winter minestrone soup -- are every bit as good as meat when it comes to your muscle.

The new study of nearly 3,000 men and women confirms what we already know: The more protein in your diet, the stronger you'll be.

But it also went a step further.

They looked specifically at what these people were eating and divided them into six groups based on their dietary patterns.

Turns out it didn't really matter which pattern they followed.

All that mattered was the protein -- and folks who got it from plant sources had muscles just as strong as those who got it from red meat.

This is important, because while red meats do contain a lot of protein, they're also loaded in unhealthy saturated fats.

You might build muscle... but you could be wrecking your arteries and heart.

Now, the new study shows you don't have to make that tradeoff.

Of course, you don't have to give up meat completely, although you can certainly do so and be perfectly healthy (for more on that, be sure to check your September 2016 edition of Health Revelations).

But you can cut back.

The Mediterranean Diet you've heard me talk so much about allows for a little red meat, and you might find that having it only on occasion makes it much more enjoyable.

The rest of the time, eat smaller portions of lean meats such as poultry and fish and boost your intake of fresh produce, especially protein-rich legumes such as lentils and kidney beans as well as quinoa, peas and nuts.

Along with stronger muscle, you'll enjoy a lower risk of heart attack and stroke, too.