When we eat unhealthy foods, we know exactly what types of gastrointestinal symptoms to expect. The gas, bloating, cramps and other bathroom woes come as no surprise after an indulgent meal with a triple helping of overconsumption. But we often forget to consider the effects our food choices have on other bodily system, such as our brains.

Mental clarity is one of those things that often goes unappreciated until we have one of those frustrating days when feel as though we would lose our head if it wasn’t attached. But it’s important to understand that brain fog, mood swings and a decline in cognitive function can be a direct result of poor nutrition. In fact, the rapidly developing field of nutritional psychiatry, is finding promise in taking a nutritional approach in the prevention and treatment of mental health issues.

Our brains work overtime, all day, everyday until death do us part. Weighing in at a mere 3 lbs, this hard working organ is responsible for burning approximately 20% of our daily caloric intake. If you expect it to work properly, you have to fuel it properly. So to help you support your little mastermind, I’ve created this super simple brain boosting Nicoise Salad. If you can hard-boil an egg, you’ve got all the skills needed to pull off this recipe. Even my junk-food junkie partner can tackle this one.

Here are a few reasons why your thinker is really going to love it:

Both fish & eggs are great sources of complete proteins. They provide the body with the necessary amino acids for the production of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that send signals from one brain cell to another.

Egg yolks rank as one of the highest dietary sources of the important brain boosting nutrient, choline. It supports brain function by maintaining healthy cell membranes and as a precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, responsible for memory and concentration.

Salmon (anchovies or sardines) is also a great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are an essential component of cell membranes and play a vital role in cognitive function. If you want your brain to run like a well oiled machine, be sure to lubricate it with these beautiful healthy fats.

This salad is a great combination of carbohydrates, fats, protein and is packed with nutrients thanks to all those vibrant colors. The best part: you can enjoy it in under 20 minutes and even make it ahead for fuss-free lunches.

Brain Boosting Salad Nicoise

This super simple salad is a breeze to create and has some major brain boosting nutrients to keep you on top of your game. It’s a perfect balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein to help you beat the mid-day slump.

Ingredients:

1 head of romaine lettuce (or greens of choice)
1 handful of green beans (approx.20 beans)
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
10 cherry tomatoes, sliced
10 Olives
1/4 cup red onion, sliced
1 Can of Salmon, anchovies or sardines

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Pinch of salt & pepper to taste.

Instructions:

In medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil over high heat
Add green beans and quickly blanche until tender (approx. 3 minutes)
Remove green beans, run under cool water and set aside
In the same pot, add eggs and reduce heat to medium-low
Hard-boil eggs for 5-7 minutes (or longer to reach desired doneness)
Once cooked, run eggs under cold water and set aside to cool
Combine all other ingredients into a large salad bowl
Once cooled, peel the eggs, slice into quarters and add to the bowl

For the Dressing:
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over salad
Enjoy!