Tribute to Tryptophan

I thought today would be an appropriate day to learn a little bit more about my favorite food-related sleep aid: tryptophan!

Fast facts:

1. Tryptophan is an amino acid, necessary for adults and growing infants. It helps our bodies balance nitrogen and produce niacin, auxin, and serotonin (which we need for a good night's sleep).

2. Tryptophan is not only in turkey: it is also naturally found in milk, chicken, nuts, soy beans, eggs, fish, pumpkin seeds, chocolate, oats, and mangoes (among other things!).

3. Turkey doesn't actually have more tryptophan per gram than other poultry!

4. Typically, the more protein per gram a food has, the more tryptophan that food has, too. Which food has the most tryptophan per gram? Egg whites!

5. Most experts think that Thanksgiving-related sleepiness is actually a result of overconsumption in general, especially of carbohydrates (which can also, after several chemical reactions, produce melatonin, another sleep-inducing hormone).

So the turkey's tryptophan effects aren't as intense as I thought... either way, I say eat up if you can! There's nothing quite like a food-coma, regardless of what causes it!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Thank YOU for reading!

(information via MedlinePlus and Wikipedia)

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