Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Turkey Coma

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thankgiving!  I know that I have plenty to be thankful for this year so it's nice to have holiday that's set aside to give thanks with your friends and family. 

If your family is anything like mine, after the hearty meal, everyone is dozing on and off for the rest of evening.  Most people blame it on the turkey.  Turkey contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid with a sleep inducing effect.  Tryptophan can be metabolized into serotonin and melatonin that produce a calming effect and regulate sleep.  While these factors are true, this myth might not be totally accurate...

Tryptophan really needs to be consumed on an empty stomach in order to trigger the body to produce more serotonin and make you sleepy.  The tryptophan has to compete with the other amino acids and protein that the body is trying to use. There's lots of protein in a serving of turkey and I sure hope it's not the only thing you are eating on Thanksgiving!!  In addition, many other foods contain as much or more tryptophan than turkey.
Realistically, you can probably attribute the post Thanksgiving dinner drowsiness to overeating, heavy carbohydrates, relaxation, alcohol, and the list goes on... 
That being said, if you are having trouble sleeping that night after all of your catnaps, you may want to head to the fridge for some turkey scraps and you might see more effect on an empty stomach.

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