Does Eating Turkey Make You Sleepy?

image of thanksgiving dinner

Turkey doesn’t make you sleepy; eating very large quantities of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pie makes you sleepy. But with mindful eating, the harvest holiday doesn’t have to be the husky holiday.

The myth about l-trypophan in turkey

Turkey does contain tryptophan, but so do yogurt, eggs, fish, cheese and other meats. Soybeans, actually contain more tryptophan than turkey. Because of transport and breakdown, not enough tryptophan will reach the brain to cause sleepiness after a holiday meal. Likely, the stressful hustle and bustle of the holiday, travel schedules, alcohol indulgence and cooking tasks will contribute more to fatigue than a few slices of turkey.

L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid, a protein building block. The body does not produce amino acids, and therefore it is obtained from food.

Here are tips for navigating the bounty of food at Thanksgiving:

  • Don’t skip meals. Eat breakfast and lunch so you avoid overeating during the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. If you save your appetite for the big meal, you will likely eat more and experience the ‘food coma’ many complain about.
  • Mind what you eat. Focus on eating your favorite once-a-year holiday foods and pass on other everyday dishes. Don’t eat your weight in appetizers if you really are looking forward to the main meal.
  • Quality not quantity. Three slices of dessert will not taste as good or be as appreciated as three small sampling portions. Skip the crust when eating pie or the big dollop of ice cream or whipped topping to save calories.
  • Load up on vegetables and fruits. Produce is loaded with vitamins and minerals, and you will benefit from the fiber. Eating vegetables doused in cream sauce and butter is better than not eating any at all.

Other tips for avoiding the crash after turkey dinner is to include some exercise before you eat and reduce alcohol consumption. Remember holidays are meant to be enjoyed, but doing so while consuming in moderation can help avoid the fill.

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