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Thanksgiving Priceless Science

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! One of the most common misconceptions about this tasty holiday is based around some simple chemistry. The amino acid in question is Tryptophan! The most popular source of this culinary chemical on your dinner table is turkey, however there is a little myth that we need to clear up. Though turkey does contain tryptophan, you should know that turkey is actually not the most tryptophan filled food. In fact it’s not even close. There are several other foods that contain way more of this chemical than your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Watch this fun video by the Science Museum of Virginia to find out more.

For example eggs, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, milk, and sesame seeds all have way more tryptophan than the turkey on your plate! If you want to see a chart of tryptophan break down, follow this handy dandy Wikipedia link.

So, why do we get tired if it’s not this chemical agent? Well, the answer is actually the same as why you get tired after running a few miles, work. Your body is just working overtime to digest the vast amounts of food you are eating on Thanksgiving. So, this year when the post-dinner zzz’s find you, just know that your body is tired from digesting the mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, green beans, pumpkin pie, and…oh yeah…the turkey.

Have a tryped out Thanksgiving everyone!

Article and video by Prabir Mehta, Science Museum of Virginia

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