Thanksgiving Science

My Dad, taking the turkey on one last flight around the kitchen

Happy thanksgiving everybody!  It’s my favorite holiday ever, because it’s a chance to celebrate food and family. We just eat, hang out, eat, hang out, eat, drink wine, and hang out. But, there’s also a lot of science to this celebration, so here are some highlights:

Does Turkey make us sleepy?  I’m sure that you’ve heard the claim that the tryptophan in Turkey is what makes you feel lethargic after the meal. Tryptophan is an amino acid that we have to eat, because our bodies can’t produce it, and it functions in the production of niacin, vitamin B3. Niacin plays a role in serotonin production, and serotonin helps us feel happy and relaxed.  However, do we feel happy and relaxed after Thanksgiving dinner from consuming all of that tryptophan? Continue reading

The Story of Soy

Edamame, or soybeans, Japanese style with salt, by Framboise, via flickr

By Kate Prengaman

Soy has become both famous as a health food and infamous as a health risk after it’s introduction to the western world as an alternative protein. Health claims include that soy protein products can help lower your cholesterol and prevent cancer. Soy supplements have been touted for menopausal women as estrogen supplement. On the other hand, that same estrogen in soy has been considered a serious risk, potentially making our children gay! (Just kidding, this claim has no scientific merit)  But what does the science really say about soy consumption and our health?  Continue reading