Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turkey, Tryptophan and Tired

It happens every year: We fill up our plates, we eat and then we nap. Thanksgiving brings out the best nap-takers in all of us, it seems. And we're so quick to blame the bird because, well, it loaded us up with all that tryptophan. Right? Right...but also wrong.

Turkeys do contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid, but they don't contain any more of it than any other form of poultry. Like chickens, for example. And eggs. Tryptophan is also found in chocolate, oats, red meat, chickpeas, corn...so that after-Thanksgiving coma?

Probably best to blame it on what you ate with your turkey, too. Serving sizes of which were most likely more than your typical filling. And let's be honest—your Thanksgiving plate was probably filled with carbs.

When we overload on carbs, our bodies produce insulin which gets absorbed into our muscles quicker than quick, leaving everything else behind in our bloodstreams. I'll spare you the scientific mumbo-jumbo, just know that carbs work fast in our bodies, so if you want to avoid that post-meal need for slumber, try to build yourself a balanced plate as dish after dish gets passed around the table. You'll foster better chances of proper digestion and subsequently the proper use of each nutrient you've just taken in. Because if those nutrients aren't used correctly, they get turned into other things. For example, tryptophan gets turned into serotonin. You might recognize serotonin as the ultimate brain relaxer.

Of course, if that after-Thanksgiving meal does get to you, y'all know what I think you should do. Don't just sit there and fester. Get up and get moving! Put those carbs to good use!

Tune in tomorrow for another Workout Wednesday.

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