Aril Mishra and Himanshu Mishra suspect that the effect is chemical. Turkey and other traditional Thanksgiving foods contain the amino acid tryptophan, which increases the levels of serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which aids the passage of messages through the brain, influencing many functions including sleep, memory, learning, sex drive, mood, and appetite. The body uses trytophan to make serotonin.
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You don't need to eat a traditional meal this Thanksgiving to benefit from a tryptophan boost, though.
A protein shake has also been shown to dampen impulsive behavior. Other foods high in this amino acid include egg whites, cod, cheese, sunflower seeds, pork chops and caribou.
For a real jolt of the amino acid, though, you might dine on the kidney of the Stellar sea lion, which has five times the content of turkey.
This could be my favorite research finding ever. Now I know am on sound scientific footing when asking for an extra-large plate to hold more of that wonderful Thanksgiving food. Yes, I'll have seconds, because I'm watching my (financial) diet.