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 (… so I’m told!). And also a nap right after it’s eaten….. right?
As you know I like to analyse such things …… Apparently, the meat has a bad reputation for making eaters sleepy, but is there really science to back that up? My feed increases around this type 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). For those worried about eating too much tryptophan, don’t be, all NET nutritionists say you should not be concerned about this and the only food restrictions that apply are right before the 5HIAA test as directed by your local specialist.
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?
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 (and many NET patients I guess), 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. We Brits eat a lot of Turkey on Christmas day and our traditional ‘Sunday Roasts’ normally include beef, turkey, chicken or pork and all the ‘trimmings’. It also comes with a traditional post dinner nap. I guess that confirms the above thinking!
Actually I 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!
Enjoy your Thanksgiving! It’s OK to have a nap too ……
Thanks for reading
You may also enjoy:
Nutrition Series Part 1 – Vitamin and Mineral Challenges. This was co-authored by Tara Whyand, UK’s most experienced NET Specialist Dietician. This blog provides a list of vitamins and minerals which NET Cancer patients are at risk for deficiencies, together with some of the symptoms which might be displayed in a deficiency scenario.
Nutrition Series Part 2 – Malabsorption. Overlapping slightly into Part 1, this covers the main side effects of certain NET surgical procedures and other mainstream treatments. Input from Tara Whyand.
Nutrition Series Part 3 – ‘Gut Health’. This followed on from the first two blogs looking specifically at the issues caused by small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) as a consequence of cancer treatment. Also discussed probiotics. Input from Tara Whyand.
Nutrition Series Part 4 – ‘Food for Thought’. The potential connections between food content and NET issues. General coverage as everyone is different.