Turkey Tom and Tryptophan

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so it’s likely that you’re preparing to gather with your loved ones, eat some delicious food, and enjoy the holiday.

Of course, Turkey Tom will be the star of the show at your Thanksgiving meal, but will he ever be able to live down the reputation of causing the post-meal “food coma?” You’ve probably heard that turkey is loaded with something called tryptophan, but what is it and how does it effect your body?

What is tryptophan?

Tryptophan is one of the ten essential amino acids that the body uses to create the proteins it needs. It plays an active role in the production of nervous system messengers.

Why does turkey make us tired?

Turkey is loaded with tryptophan, which is why it takes the blame for making everyone tired once the Thanksgiving meal is complete. Scientists have argued for years about whether this tryptophan accusation is true or if we become drowsy because we indulge in such a large amount of food. Whatever the true outcome, tryptophan may actually be better for you than researchers thought.

What can high-tryptophan foods do for you?

Foods that are high in tryptophan can help regulate your appetite, help you sleep better, and elevate your mood. Your tryptophan levels are directly related to your relaxation, restfulness, and sleep habits, but because your body cannot produce tryptophan independently, it relies on the foods you eat. Foods high in tryptophan include red meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, bananas, soybeans, soy products, tuna, shellfish, and- of course-turkey.

Often, signs of depression, anxiety, irritability, impatience, impulsiveness, inability to concentrate, drastic and sudden weight changes, slow growth in children, overeating and/or carbohydrate cravings, poor recollection of dreams, and insomnia are signs of a tryptophan deficiency.

As you can see, tryptophan is a necessary part of a healthy and balanced diet, so San Jose dentist Dr. Randy LaFrom encourages you to eat up tomorrow- even if it causes the infamous “food coma.”

Thanksgiving only comes around once a year, so Dr. LaFrom and our team at LaFrom Dentistry want you to know that we’re thankful for you and the opportunity to make you smile all year round. To schedule a post-holiday dental appointment, call our Cupertino dental office at (408) 996-8595.

~ by cupertinodentist on November 23, 2011.

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