After stuffing yourself silly of mashed potatoes, gravy, cornbread, wine, beer, and of course, turkey, it’s no wonder why your belly’s bloated and you’re ready for a good nap. The blame of needing a nap is never referenced to two or three plate full’s of grandma’s home cooking, but is instead blamed on the turkey’s tryptophan. But how much truth is there in all of this?
Tryptophan is actually a chemical that’s important to our health. Our body uses tryptophan to make serotonin, which is a chemical that helps to regulate sleep. Although turkeys do contain tryptophan, so does a lot of other meats- even cheddar cheese. And while different meats and cheeses contain the chemical, you don’t hear a connection to feeling sleepy after eating chicken or a grilled cheese sandwich, do you?
In essence, eating big meals with anything containing the chemical can make you sleepy. Adding the carb-heavy potatoes, veggies, bread and pie to the tryptophan…yeah, you would be pretty sleepy. And like many people, we starve ourselves to make sure we have enough room for the yummy dinner- tryptophan’s effect on serotonin is heightened when ingested on an empty stomach.
So, in all, turkey’s sleeping effects does have some truth to it, but over time, it has become largely over exaggerated. If you don’t want to be in a turkey and carb-induced coma after dinner tonight, don’t stuff yourself silly.
Happy gobble-gobble day!!