Does turkey really make you tired? Yes, it is true that the Tryptophan in a Thanksgiving Turkey can make you a little sleepy, but there may be other culprits in your Thanksgiving feast that are even more to blame. Tryptophan is one of nine essential amino acids that our bodies do not produce so we must get it from the food we eat. It is important to make sure we do not become deficient in tryptophan because it is linked to stable and healthy levels of serotonin which is essential in our ability to get quality sleep, overall wellbeing, and better moods.
Besides the turkey, a major factor in how you feel after a meal is the added sugar, added sodium, processed oils (canola, soybean, and cottonseed), and maltodextrin in the sweet potato casserole or the MSG in canned goods may actually be the ones causing that “food coma”. MSG is a food additive that is added to processed foods such as cream of mushroom soup, canned corn, and marshmallows. High fructose corn syrup is almost always found is traditionally baked pies, frosted flakes, and packaged gravy. These are all highly processed foods that you can easily swap out and still enjoy those holiday favorites just without the major crash, bloating, and headaches a few hours later.
Another factor in sleepiness is the insulin spike from sheer volume. After eating such a large meal mostly full of carbohydrates and sugars it is no wonder why we can barely keep our eyes open to watch any football! These foods create a fast insulin spike in our blood stream which actually allows tryptophan to enter our blood systems quicker. So the combination of all these things is more likely what’s casing the family to crash after a holiday meal.
What can you do about it?
Make Healthier Alternatives: Whenever possible use the real thing. Just by switching out processed items for fresh ingredients you will cut back on additives and preservatives that can cause a wide range of health effects. Things to avoid: Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup, Canned Cranberry Sauce, Frosted Flakes, Instant mashed potatoes, etc.
Pace and Portion Control: Try wait an hour before that second helping this year. Reducing that blood sugar spike by spacing out your meals will not only make you less tired but less bloated and uncomfortable later! Another tip is using a smaller plate. This helps to control portion size.
Add More Greens: Plan on adding another green side dish option for your family this year. Besides the salad, roast some Brussel sprouts, broccoli, or green beans in the oven and it make a perfect addition. Spice it up with a little garlic powerder, sea salt, and pepper and you are good to go!
From the desk of Dr. Lisette Miller Kondrad. Dr. Miller has been in clinical practice for 7 years helping hundreds of patients via Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture. Click here to contact Clark Road Chiropractic Center with any questions or to schedule your appointment!