Have you ever experienced that overwhelming tired feeling immediately after eating Thanksgiving dinner? If so, you're not alone. In fact, many people believe that a specific nutrient in turkey meat actually causes people who eat it to feel tired after a meal. In this article, you'll learn to separate the fact from the myth when it comes to your post-Thanksgiving meal nap.
Many people claim that the sleepiness that comes after eating turkey is from something called tryptophan. It's true that turkey does contain one kind of amino acid called L-tryptophan. When this amino acid is consumed, it is taken through the digestive system and eventually to the brain. There, it is converted into serotonin, a chemical which creates a calm, relaxed feeling that can help a person fall asleep.
Based on these facts, you might think that the rumors about tryptophan are true. However, researchers have verified that you can only get sleepy right away after consuming tryptophan if you eat it by itself without any other amino acids. Turkey contains many other amino acids, so tryptophan can't be the reason that turkey makes you feel sleepy. In fact, there are plenty of other foods that contain a higher concentration of tryptophan than turkey, such as soybeans.
The real reason that many people feel tired after Thanksgiving dinner has less to do with turkey and more to do with food in general. Most people feel sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner due to the change in their blood flow. Consuming a large meal causes blood flow to the stomach to increase in order to aid in digestion. This diverts some of the blood flow from the brain. As that blood flow to the brain decreases, you begin to feel more and more tired. The result is the urge to lie down or even to take a nap. Naturally, the more food you eat, the more your body will have to work to digest that food. Since many people eat meals which are larger than usual on Thanksgiving, they also find that they feel more tired than usual after the meal is over.
There are plenty of method you can utilize in order to prevent that tired feeling commonly associated with eating turkey. The list below includes several great tips and tricks for staying alert and active, even after eating a Thanksgiving meal: