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• http://www.businessinsider.com, Ferris Jabr
Turkey typically gets the blame.
It supposedly contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that is sold in a purified form to help people fall asleep.
But turkey contains about the same amount of tryptophan as chicken, beef and other meats.
If Thanksgiving drowsiness is not about the main course, what is responsible?
It may have more to do with the side dishes.
To understand, we first need to digest a little food chemistry.
To start, we get tryptophan and other essential amino acids from all the protein in our diet, not just from meat. These amino acids swim through the bloodstream, nourishing our cells.
Brain cells convert tryptophan into a chemical called serotonin. This neurotransmitter helps regulate sleep and appetite and high levels of serotonin are associated with calm and relaxation.