There are approximately 152,000 incidents of people having strokes in the UK every year - but if we all change our diet, this number could be seriously reduced.
Researchers analysed the findings of seven diet studies involving a total of 254,489 participants whose progress was monitored for an average of 14 years.
Those who ate the most protein were 20% less likely to suffer a stroke than those consuming the lowest levels.
For every 20 additional grammes of protein eaten per day, stroke risk reduced by around 26%.
Study author Dr Xinfeng Liu, from Nanjing University School of Medicine in China, said: "The amount of protein that led to the reduced risk was moderate - equal to 20 grammes per day.
"Additional, larger studies are needed before definitive recommendations can be made, but the evidence is compelling."
Dr Liu added that an estimated 1.4 million stroke deaths could be prevented worldwide each year by higher protein consumption.
But the findings, published in the journal Neurology, did not support increased consumption of red meat, which has been associated with greater stroke risk.
"These results indicate that stroke risk may be reduced by replacing red meat with other protein sources, such as fish," Dr Liu said.
But animal protein appeared to be more protective than vegetable protein.
One explanation for the effect may be that protein lowers blood pressure, Dr Liu added.