Thanksgiving Myth Debunked: Does Turkey Makes You Sleepy?

Happy Thanksgiving all! Quick post today!

I bid some of my friends a happy turkey day, and someone responded back “…eating lots of turkey and sleeping forever because of tryptophan!” It’s a common idea that turkey is what is responsible for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But is it true?

(image source: http://www.bonappetit.com)

WebMD investigates this myth well.

L-tryptophan is an amino acid that our bodies need, but cannot produce. Therefore, we receive our necessary source of tryptophan through foods that we eat, such as high protein things like poultry and meat.

(image source: openscience.org)

As you would have guessed, tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, which in simple terms is our “happy” chemical in the brain. It promotes good mood and relaxation.

(image source: tumblr)

However, it turns out that turkey doesn’t have an abnormal amount of tryptophan in it! That sleepiness that you are feeling is just a byproduct of overeating. So, your body goes into an energy overload trying to digest all that food. Also, holiday times mean extra stress and a need for a break and family time. What better way to relax than catch up on some well needed zzz’s!

(image source: SMBC Comics)

Happy Thanksgiving all!!!

Reference source: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-tryptophan

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