Why Thanksgiving is Famous for the Food Coma

First, comes the “beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, lamb, rams, hogs, dogs, chicken, turkeys, rabbits… you name it”; then, comes a slumber.  

We can thank the centerpiece of the feast for that, whether it is deep-fried, stuffed, or roasted with veggies. The turkey, a native-American bird, contains a sleep-inducing amino acid called tryptophan. Though it is 1 of 22 amino acids humans need to survive, it is not produced by the body alone and instead, must be ingested via fish or poultries.

It does not end there. Dairy products, fruits, breads, beans, starchy potatoes, and sugary desserts are all carb-filled. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain, which is why mashed potatoes turn us into couch potatoes. Oh, and you can’t forget the gravy on top, which is thickened with a starch like cornstarch or flour. So, it is safe to say 90% of Thanksgiving dinner is very fattening.

On a healthier note, the green foods on your plate are an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K and/or Calcium. Even pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan pie offer some nutritional benefits, regardless of their high sugar content. Beta-carotenes, plant chemicals or inactive forms of vitamin A, not only give pumpkins and sweet potatoes their orange pigment; they are also antioxidants and have shown strides in cancer research providing free-radicals.

Holidays are the best time to devour three or four plates and feel no remorse about it. And unless you have diabetes, I doubt you care too much about a diet around this time. However, we should all be mindful of what and how much we put into our bodies. Happy Holidays and try to stay awake!