We’ve all heard that the turkey you eat on Thanksgiving Day is what makes you sleepy after the big meal because it contains the amino acid Tryptophan. Tryptophan is found in turkey and it can eventually convert to serotonin (a sleep hormone), but it does not act alone. It is actually the combo of Tryptophan + carbohydrates that can contribute to that sleepy feeling after a meal. Carbohydrates lead to the production of insulin which is the key that helps Tryptophan get from your blood stream to your brain. This is especially true when large amounts of carbohydrate are consumed—according to the American Council on Exercise, the average American consumes ~3,000 calories during their Thanksgiving meal, about half of which is carbohydrates (think potatoes, dressing, macaroni, and pie).
Want to eat healthier on the big day?
Check out this link for some healthier Thanksgiving Day recipes: https://eatrightpa.org/members/blog/thanksgiving-sides-desserts-registered-dietitian/