Just a note to say Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in USA or who may be celebrating it elsewhere. I am so thankful for the support I get from the US who make up the biggest proportion of subscribers to my blog and associated Facebook page. I’m also thankful to the US support and advocate organisations who are consistent in their support for my blog via commendations, recommendations, likes and sharing of some of my material. So I’m thinking of y’all today!
Now …….. I hate to stereotype but I guess a lot of you might be eating turkey today? No Thanksgiving is complete without a turkey at the table—and a nap right after it’s eaten….. right? Apparently, the meat has a bad reputation for making eaters sleepy, but is there really science to back that up? Would you believe my inbox has been full of stories about turkey? The alerts landed in my lap due to the connection of turkey with the word serotonin. So for me, this has been very educational. Those who read my blog on the ‘S’ word may remember that tryptophan is one of the bodies amino acids and is partly responsible for the manufacture of Serotonin in our system. Turkey is said to be high in tryptophan but the recent alerts I received say it is no higher than many other meats. I’ve also heard the stories about how eating too much turkey makes you sleepy. Melatonin is said to be the hormone which helps with sleep regulation and is manufactured from Serotonin (which is manufactured from tryptophan).
However, the articles I read, (one was from the New York Times and one from Time Magazine) both confirm this is not exactly correct with one describing the turkey/sleepy connection as a “common myth”. In any case, what’s wrong with an afternoon or evening nap after a traditional meal? We Brits eat a lot of Turkey on Christmas day and our traditional ‘Sunday Roasts’ normally include beef, turkey or pork and all the ‘trimmings’. It comes with a nap too 🙂
Whilst it’s clear that Tryptophan is associated with healthy sleep, it’s also clear there is no more tryptophan in turkey than in other common meats like chicken and beef. Other foods, including nuts and cheeses contain even more. Some of you will be familiar with the food restrictions for your 5HIAA urine test and this is really the only time experienced NET nutritionists will say not to eat such foods (unless of course they give you a reaction).
While tryptophan could make you drowsy on its own, its effects are limited in the presence of other amino acids, of which turkey has many. You might be extra tired after your meal, but best not to blame the turkey in isolation; it could just be that you simply ate too much. With potatoes, stuffing, yams, rolls and pie on top of that turkey, you’re inhaling a lot of carbs! I also read that the bigger the meal, the more to digest and therefore your body is using up a lot of energy doing this – so this will add to the sleepy feelings! As for myself, I cannot eat a large meal due to an absence of various bits of my ‘internal plumbing’ not being able to cope with the deluge.
I also read that turkey is a really healthy meat to eat, it’s low in fat, full of protein and other nutrients including the important B vitamins that NET patients might be at risk of deficiency (B3 and B12). Note to self …… eat more turkey!
There’s a great infographic from the Time Magazine below – check it out!
thanks for listening and enjoy your Thanksgiving! It’s OK to have a nap too ……
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