Don’t blame the turkey!

Have you been blaming the TURKEY for making you sooooo sleepy after eating every Thanksgiving?   It is true that there is a sleep inducing chemical in turkey, but there is actually no more (tryptophan) in turkey than any other meat (or tofu for that matter!).  So what’s the deal?  Why do we all fall into a heap on the couch and miss half the game because we can’t keep our eyes open?

The answer is CARBS, not turkey.  Look at the rest of table… mashed potatoes, stuffing, marshmellow-topped sugary yams, pumpkin pie,… the list goes on.  When you put all those carbs in your body, insulin is released to manage the sugar high you just imposed.  When that happens, the amino acids that were blocking the tryptophan from getting to your brain are off fighting the sugar battle, allowing tryptophan to get into your brain and get turned into seratonin.  Presto! you get mellowed out and fade away to dreamland.

So do yourself a favor.  Load up on turkey and go light on the carbs.  Better yet, get the family out for a walk afterwards, instead of sitting in front of the screen.  Your body will thank you.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!  We have so much to be thankful for.

PS – Here’s the link to the article in Wired Science where I got my info.

Advertisements

Climate Change – Is it Really Happening?

In light of President Obama’s current trip to Asia and the agreement that he and China’s president have made on carbon emissions (read about it here), puts the global warming (AKA Climate Change) debate in the spotlight once more.

I thought you might find it interesting to read what one of the co-founders of the Weather Channel, John Coleman, wrote recently about the science behind the claims that the earth is warming. “I have studied this topic seriously for years. It has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid.”  Read the rest of the article here.

Bacteria: Good or Bad?

When you hear about bacteria, isn’t your first reaction to think “Yuck!  Bacteria bad, anti-bacterials good!”

Well, one of the newest fields in biological research today (only 10 years old) is focused on the importance of good bacteria that we are exposed to throughout our lives.  Recent research has shown that the more we try to avoid bacteria, the worse off we are in regards to our immune systems.  It turns out that the more bacteria we are exposed to early childhood, the stronger our immune systems will be as we grow older.

Here are two articles that I think you might find interesting.  The first is how bacteria and allergies are related.  The second is an episode from NPR’s Science Friday about the interaction of the bacteria in your body and its affect on your brain and your behavior.  Download the podcast and have fun learning!

 

 

 

Fetal cells live on in their mothers…..

This post goes out to my Biology students in particular, as we are currently studying about how cells are regulated in the body.  This article in Scientific American talks about a new study currently going on, in which cells were found in women that were distinctly not their own, but were in fact cells from their children!

“We all consider our bodies to be our own unique being, so the notion that we may harbor cells from other people in our bodies seems strange.”  Because these are embryonic cells, they are also stem cells, possessing the ability to differentiate into other cells in the body.

Read the rest of the article from Scientific American here.