Monday, November 23, 2009

Myth- Eating turkey at your Thanksgiving meal makes you sleepy.

Answer: Not exactly.

It is true that turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan that is converted to serotonin and melatonin in your body, which can have an effect on mood and sleep. However, the amount of serotonin and melatonin that is produced from the tryptophan in the average Thanksgiving meal is not enough to cause a significant increase in sleepiness. In fact, many of your favorite protein foods such as chicken, eggs, and cheese also contain tryptophan.

So why do you feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal? It is most likely due to the high amount of carbohydrate foods that you eat at a Thanksgiving meal. Foods like mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and pies all contain carbohydrates. Your body has to work harder to digest all of these carbohydrate foods which can make you feel tired. If you drink wine or other alcoholic beverages on Thanksgiving, this may also contribute to your sleepiness, since alcohol can have a sedative effect.

To prevent your annual afternoon nap this Thanksgiving, try having smaller portions of those high carbohydrate foods or go for a walk. Keeping active will help you feel better and more awake.

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