Are you a meat lover who often feels sluggish and tired after a meal?
Have you ever wondered if your favorite beef dishes are to blame?
It turns out that there may be some truth to the idea that eating beef can make you feel drowsy.
But why is this the case? And are there any ways to avoid feeling tired after indulging in a juicy steak or burger?
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind the relationship between beef consumption and fatigue, and offer some tips for maximizing your energy levels while still enjoying your favorite meaty meals.
So sit back, relax, and let’s dive in!
Does Eating Beef Make You Tired?
The short answer is yes, eating beef can make you feel tired. This is because beef is a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid that is known to promote the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.
When you consume beef, your body breaks down the tryptophan and converts it into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood and sleep. Serotonin is then converted into melatonin, which signals to your body that it’s time to sleep.
This is why many people feel drowsy after eating a large meal that includes beef. The body is working hard to digest the meat, and the tryptophan in the beef is promoting the production of melatonin, which can make you feel sleepy.
The Link Between Beef And Tiredness
There is a clear link between beef and tiredness, and it’s all due to the high levels of tryptophan found in this type of meat. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is used by the body to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep.
When you consume beef, the tryptophan in the meat is broken down and converted into serotonin. This can make you feel relaxed and calm, which can lead to drowsiness and fatigue. Additionally, the body requires a lot of energy to digest red meat, which can also contribute to feelings of sluggishness and tiredness.
However, it’s important to note that not all types of beef are created equal. Grass-fed beef has been shown to be healthier than grain-fed beef, as it contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and lower levels of omega-6 fatty acids. This can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can contribute to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other conditions that cause tiredness.
How Does Beef Affect Your Body?
Aside from its impact on sleep, beef can also affect your body in other ways. Research has shown that consuming high amounts of red and processed meats, including beef, can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
This is because beef is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. Additionally, processed meats like bacon and sausage contain high amounts of additives and chemicals that have been linked to health risks.
However, it’s important to note that not all beef is created equal. Grass-fed and organic beef may contain lower levels of growth hormones and antibiotics compared to grain-fed beef. While there is no clear evidence that these types of beef offer any significant health benefits, they may be a better option for those who choose to consume beef.
The Role Of Protein And Iron In Energy Levels
Protein plays an important role in our energy levels. When we consume protein-rich foods, our body breaks down the proteins into amino acids, which are then used to build and repair tissues in the body. Additionally, protein foods provide energy-producing B vitamins that help convert the food we eat into energy.
Red meat, in particular, is a rich source of bioavailable micronutrients that are required for general health and wellbeing. Most of the iron in meat is in the haem iron form, which is more efficiently absorbed from the diet than non-haem iron. The haem iron in red meat also enhances non-haem iron absorption from other foods consumed at the same time. Meat and meat products contribute to 21% of iron intake in adults.
Furthermore, red meat is a rich source of vitamin D, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D is derived from the action of sunlight on the skin of animals or from the animals’ feed. The vitamin D3 metabolite 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25(OH)D3) is found in significant quantities in meat and liver and is considered to have a high biological activity, resulting in better and faster absorption from the diet compared with its parent compound, cholecalciferol.
Many of the micronutrients found in red meat are currently found in low levels in various population groups. Red meat can make an important contribution to intakes of micronutrients that are sometimes found to be lacking in the diets of some population groups. For example, data from the latest UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey indicate that the contribution of meat and meat products to the average daily intake of magnesium is 15%, 21% for iron, 18% for potassium and 36% for zinc.
Other Factors That Contribute To Post-Meal Fatigue
While beef is a significant contributor to post-meal fatigue, there are other factors that can also contribute to feeling tired after eating. One of the main culprits is consuming high-glycemic carbohydrates, such as white bread and rice. These types of carbs break down quickly in the body, causing a spike in blood sugar levels followed by a crash, which can leave you feeling lethargic.
Additionally, foods high in magnesium, such as bananas and pumpkin seeds, can also make you feel tired. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and can cause drowsiness if consumed in large amounts.
Consuming high-fat foods like red meat can also contribute to post-meal fatigue. The body requires a lot of energy to digest these foods, leaving less energy for other activities and potentially causing drowsiness.
Finally, consuming caffeine-rich drinks like coffee and tea may give you a quick burst of energy, but eventually, they can cause you to crash and feel even more tired than before. It’s best to consume caffeine in small doses over an extended period rather than all at once.
Tips For Reducing Tiredness After Eating Beef
If you’re experiencing tiredness after consuming beef, there are a few tips you can follow to reduce this feeling.
1. Choose lean cuts of grass-fed beef: Grass-fed beef is known to have a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants than grain-fed beef. These nutrients can help to reduce inflammation and increase energy levels. Additionally, lean cuts of beef contain less fat, which can be difficult for the body to digest and lead to feelings of fatigue.
2. Limit your portion size: Eating large amounts of beef can be taxing on the digestive system, leading to feelings of tiredness. It’s recommended to limit your portion size to 3-4 ounces per meal.
3. Pair beef with complex carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, or brown rice can help slow down the digestion process and provide a steady stream of energy throughout the day. Pairing your beef with these types of carbs can help prevent the post-meal crash.
4. Avoid eating beef close to bedtime: As mentioned earlier, the tryptophan in beef promotes the production of melatonin, which signals to the body that it’s time to sleep. To avoid feeling tired after eating beef, it’s best to consume it earlier in the day and not close to bedtime.
By following these tips, you can still enjoy the benefits of consuming beef without feeling tired afterwards.
Alternative Protein Sources For Boosting Energy
If you’re looking for an alternative source of protein that won’t make you feel tired, there are plenty of options to choose from. Plant-based protein sources like chickpeas, black beans, white beans, and lentils are all excellent choices. These foods are not only rich in protein but also high in fiber, which is a winning combination for boosting energy levels. Incorporating these foods into your meals is a no-brainer, but don’t forget that they also make great snacks.
Soy-based tofu is another popular meat alternative that is packed with almost 10g of protein per 3-ounce serving, along with fiber and healthy fats. It’s also lighter on greenhouse-gas emissions than meat, making it a more sustainable option.
Pea protein is now popping up in all kinds of products, such as Beyond Meat’s veggie burger, which looks, tastes, and cooks like beef. Switching beef for pea protein has a bigger impact on improving health than any other alternative protein, according to the World Economic Forum. It’s also one of the most sustainable swaps.