A common assertion in the US is that heavy consumption of Turkey meat is associated with drowsiness due to high levels of Tryptophan in the Turkey.
However, the same association has not been made with other meats and/or foods and many of them have similar quantities of Tryptophan. For example, pork and cheese have more Tryptophan per gram than does Turkey. (1)
It is more likely that the cause of Thanksgiving meal-inducing lethargy is related to the excessive size of the meal and amount of carbohydrates that are consumed. Larger meals reduce blood flow to the brain and significant consumption of carbohydrates are associated with lethargy. (1)
So how can you avoid the post-meal effects of Thanksgiving dinner?
It's simple. Start by moderating the size of the meal and decreasing your alcohol and carbohydrate intake. That's it.
Let me know if this works for you this Thanksgiving.
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1. Vreeman, Rachel. Medical Myths. BMJ. 2007 Dec 22; 335(7633): 1288–1289.
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