Did The Turkey Do It?

Thanksgiving is over and the other winter holidays are just around the corner. For Thanksgiving you probably had turkey and dressing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoe casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce and more. Remember how you felt after that Thanksgiving feast? You sat down in a comfy chair and before you knew it, your eyes were heavy and you were sound asleep.

Mr. Turkey is often blamed for the nap that eveyone so desperately needs after the big meal. Turkey contains l-tryptophan which is an amino acid with documented sleep inducing effects. L-tryptophan can be metabolized into serotonin and melatonin, two neuro transmitters that make you feel calm and regulate sleep. The catch is that l-tryptophan must be taken on an empty stomach and without other amino acids or protein to make you sleepy. That’s probably not how you ate your turkey.

Other foods contain as much,  if not more, l-tryptophan as turkey. Some of those foods include chicken, pork and cheese.

The turkey, carbohydrates, fats, alcohol and amount of food you ate all contributed to the drowsy state you experienced.  It requires alot of energy to digest a large meal. In fact, when your stomach is full, blood is directed away from other organ systems including your nervous system. You feel the need to sleep especially if the meal is composed of large amounts of fat and carbohydrates.

So, don’t blame Mr. Turkey for wanting to crawl into a big chair and snooze for while. He had some help.

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