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November 16, 2017

Turkey on the Brain

Just as common as the words turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie are around the holidays, the word tryptophan often is mentioned after the meal as the reason why you feel tired after the heavy meal you just consumed. This is not entirely true however. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a precursor for the brain chemical serotonin, which is associated with healthy sleep. But there is no more tryptophan in turkey than in other common meats like chicken and beef. Other foods, including nuts and cheeses, contain more.

Feeling tired after a heavy meal can be perfectly normal. Feeling tired after eating can be related to several factors such as eating processed foods, foods high in sugar or refined carbohydrates, or due to an underlying health problem, such as a food allergy. Eating simple sugars cause a drastic rise in blood sugar levels, followed by a severe drop. This is due to an excessive secretion of insulin. The increase of insulin causes tryptophan to metabolize to serotonin and melatonin. This is where tryptophan gets the bad reputation as causing the drowsiness after that heavy meal. In reality, cutting back on the extra serving of potatoes or stuffing could have done the trick, but where is the fun in that? Below is a list of supplements and digestion aids that can help ease the transition from wide awake to sleeping during the football games during your next family gathering.

- Apple cider vinegar- apple cider vinegar in the diet may also help stabilize blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for people with diabetes.

- Water- this will help maintain hydration levels in your digestive system. You may take it a step further by making an herbal tea, ideally with ginger.

- Go for a walk

 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/26/science/no-the-tryptophan-in-turkey-wont-make-you-sleepy.html

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