More than a dozen other fish species have the common name cod, the generic name for a specific genus of fish, Gadus. The flaky, white flesh and mild flavour of cod make it a popular and widely harvested fish. Atlantic and Pacific fish are the two most prevalent forms of cod that most people have eaten in seafood restaurants. Because of its nutritional composition, you can typically classify cod as a healthy fish, and people often consider it for its oil content.
Cod: An Introduction
The codfish falls under the Gadidae family and genus Gadus. It is omnivorous and has a cylindrical form with a greenish to brown belly and dense, flaky flesh. Its mild flavour and sturdy, flaky texture make it a go-to choice for fish and chips, fish tacos, and fish stews, among other foods.
Cod is high in B12, phosphate, selenium, and protein, among other nutrients. It also contains potassium, niacin, Vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, you can derive Cod liver oil from it, which is high in vitamins A, D, E, and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA)
The HealthifyMe Note
Atlantic Cod and Pacific fish are the two most prevalent cod species. Atlantic cod inhabit the deeper waters of the North Atlantic. At the same time, Pacific cod exist in the western and eastern regions of the Northern Pacific. Cod liver oil is a supplement that contains a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.
Varieties of Cod
Although several different fish are named “Cod,” the following are the most prevalent types of codfish:
- Atlantic Cod (Gadus Morhua): This cod is present in the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. They are typically large, with a sweeter taste and their meat flakes into larger pieces.
- Pacific Cod (Gadus Macrocephalus): This cod is present near the Alaskan coast. They are milder and more savoury, and their flesh is chunkier and firmer.
- Greenland Cod (Gadus Ogac): This cod is present in waters that stretch from Alaska to West Greenland. Their nutritious flesh is pale and flaky but firmer, more rigid, and milder in flavour.
Nutritional Properties of Cod
As per USDA, 100 grams of cod contains the following nutritional values.
- Energy: 82 kcal
- Water: 81.2 g
- Protein: 17.8 g
- Lipid (fat): 0.67 g
Vitamins and Minerals
Various vitamins and minerals are present.
- Calcium, Ca: 16 mg
- Magnesium, Mg: 32 mg
- Phosphorus, P: 203 mg
- Potassium, K: 413 mg
- Sodium, Na: 54 mg
- Selenium, Se: 33.1 µg
- Niacin: 2.06 mg
- Vitamin B-12: 0.91 µg
- Vitamin A, RAE: 12 µg
Cod fish has no carbohydrates, fibre, or sugar on its own. However, frying and seasoning can add a few carbs to the dish. Cod has a very low-fat content, with only 0.67 grams per cup (though it may vary, as per different species). Polyunsaturated fat makes up half of the fat in cod, some of which come from omega-3 fatty acids.
Cod is an excellent source of protein; because of its low-fat, calories and carbs content, cod is considered a very lean protein. Foods that are high in protein but low in fat are lean protein. Lean proteins include foods like fish, dairy, and peanut butter. This lean protein helps build muscle, lose weight, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, boost immunity and helps muscles repair.
You require B vitamins for a range of body functions, including nutrient metabolism and the release of food energy. For example, the micronutrient of cod is vitamin B12, which aids in the production of red blood cells and DNA. A 1-cup serving contains 0.91g of this vitamin. Furthermore, these fish are high in vitamin B6 and niacin, both essential for hundreds of chemical reactions in the body. Other minor nutrients include vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, and sodium.
Cod contains various vital minerals, including phosphorus and selenium. Phosphorus is necessary for the formation of bones and teeth, and it also facilitates the normal functioning of several B vitamins. In the meantime, selenium aids in the building and protection of your DNA.
The HealthifyMe Note
Cod is a firm-fleshed white fish that is high in vitamins and nutrients. Cod is a good source of lean protein, B vitamins (B3, B6, and B12), and minerals like phosphorus. However, despite being one of the safest fish to eat, cod contains mercury. As a result, you should see a dietitian before consuming cod fish while pregnant. Too much mercury in the body is poisonous and can cause neurological and behavioural abnormalities, particularly in children.
Health Benefits of Cod
Helps in Weight Management
According to research, eating a pescatarian diet (which includes fish but no meat) is associated with a lower BMI (BMI). Also, this is because fish replaces meat in terms of calories and saturated fat, which results in weight loss.
Regulates Blood Pressure
As per research, cod fish contains potassium, which has antihypertensive benefits. In addition, it widens the arteries, which helps to minimise blood vessel tension. As a result, the blood flow improves, and you can control your blood pressure and avoid hypertension.
Potassium in cod makes it an excellent vasodilator, which helps reduce the bad cholesterol in our blood, prevents clogging up arteries, and reduces heart attack risk.
Improves Heart Health and Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
Research shows that consuming omega-3s helps lower blood pressure by several points, reducing the risk of heart disease. So getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is more effective than lowering your sodium intake in treating high blood pressure.
Fish consumption can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by up to 30%. Moreover, eating cod at least once a week lowers your heart disease and stroke risk.
Potassium aids in the balance of body fluids and even counteracts the effects of sodium. Potassium also helps to relax blood vessels and promote blood flow by lowering blood vessel stiffness and contraction, relieving the cardiovascular system of stress.
Improves Brain Health
Cod fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. According to a study, omega-3 fatty acids benefit brain development and function. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for brain function, beneficial to cognitive function in the elderly, developmental skills in children, and emotional well-being in adults. Therefore, fish, mainly cod, is one of the best sources of these fats because it contains high omega-3 fatty acids.
Cod, like other fish, is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids. The body requires omega-3 but cannot produce them on its own. As a result, getting these through your diet is critical. Furthermore, studies show that ‘Triglycerides’, bad cholesterol, can be reduced by eating adequate omega-3 fatty acids.
Improves Bone and Dental Health
Even though it may sound strange, fish can be a good source of calcium and fish bones contain calcium when eaten whole. Calcium is a vital nutrient, and it is required for bone development and health, as well as for nerve transmission and muscle control. Thus, eating more fish may be advantageous, and this is due to the presence of calcium in fish bones.
The HealthifyMe Note
Cod provides protein, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids, so it can help meet all mineral requirements. It’s also beneficial to those with diabetes, heart disease or atherosclerosis, and fish consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, omega-3 and selenium are anti-inflammatory, aiding in reducing inflammation that causes rheumatoid arthritis, asthma attacks, migraines, and osteoarthritis.
Homemade Recipes for Cod
Spicy Baked Fish (Tandoori Style Cod)
Serves: 3-4 servings
Preparation time: 20-30 mins
- 2 lb of cod fillets, about two large pieces approximately 10 inches long and 2 inches wide or cut into smaller pieces.
For the marinade:
- Sea salt: ¾ tsp
- Kashmiri red chilli powder (or cayenne pepper): ¾ tsp
- Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
- Tandoori masala (or garam masala): 1 tsp
- Cumin powder: ¼ tsp
- Ginger garlic paste(optional):1 tbsp
- Olive oil: 1 tbsp
- Lime wedges, fresh cilantro, and onion slices for garnish
Method of Preparation
- In a mixing dish, combine all marinade ingredients. Marinate the fish fillets in the marinade. Spread the marinade mixture on all sides of the fish with your hands. Marinate for ten to twenty minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Brush a baking pan with oil after lining it with aluminium foil.
- Place the fillets on the foil and place the tray in the oven (uncovered) for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees F.
- Remove the pan from the oven, coat the top with oil, and bake for another 3-5 minutes until no ‘raw’ masala remains on top and the top seems crisp.
- Remove from the oven and cover the pan with foil until ready to serve.
- Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, onion slices, and lime wedges.
- Serve with rice or salad as a side dish.
Cod Fish Curry
Serves: 5 servings
Preparation time:20 mins
- Cod fish: 600 g
- Vegetable Oil: 50ml
- Onion quartered: 1
- Tomatoes: 5
- Green Chillies: 2
- Garlic Cloves: 6
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Red Chilli Powder: 1 tsp
- Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp
- Kashmiri Chilli Powder: 1 tsp
- Coriander: As per taste
Method of Preparation
- In a food processor, combine the onion, tomatoes, green chillies, and garlic cloves, and blend until there are no large lumps and it has formed into a paste.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Cook for 4-6 minutes on medium heat after adding the onion and tomato paste.
- Cook the spices for 4-6 minutes after adding the salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder, and Kashmiri chilli powder.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes after adding the finely chopped coriander.
- Cut Cod fish into chunks and add to the pan.
- Spread the masala over the fish and cover the pan with a lid for 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
- Your Cod fish curry is ready to serve.
Storage and Food Safety
If you buy fresh cod from the shop, keep it in its original packaging until you’re ready to use it to extend its shelf life. Fresh cod can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days in most situations, but it is always ideal for cooking it when it is fresh. If you want to store the cod for future use, you can freeze it for up to 6 months.
Potential Drawbacks of Cod
Fish, including cod, are among the top eight food allergens, so a cod allergy is possible. However, unlike many other food allergies that manifest in childhood, a fish allergy may not develop until adulthood.
Mercury toxicity is always a risk in seafood, and cod generally has a moderate level. For mercury toxicity considerations, it is typically advisable to avoid cod if pregnant. Mercury poisoning can lead to neurological and behavioural problems, especially in children.
This fish is also dense in sodium, which can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke if consumed in excess. As a result, it is preferable to consume in moderation.
Cod is a white fish with firm flesh that lives in the cold waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Its mild flavour and sturdy, flaky texture make it a popular ingredient in recipes such as fish and chips, fish tacos, and fish stews. Cod is also high in phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B12, niacin, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, choline, and iodine, all essential for normal bodily function. As a result, cod has numerous health benefits such as blood pressure regulation, improved heart health and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, improved brain health, reduced cholesterol levels, enhanced bone and dental health, and weight management. However, it contains a tiny amount of mercury, which may cause neural disorders, especially in children. So, it is better to consult your dietician first if you want to incorporate cod into your diet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the benefits of eating cod?
A. Cod is a nutritious fish with numerous nutritional benefits. It is high in protein and low in fat, making it an excellent source of protein. Cod is also high in vitamins and minerals necessary for proper bodily function, such as phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B12, niacin, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, choline and iodine. These nutrients have several health benefits, including regulating blood pressure, improving heart health and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, improving brain health, lowering cholesterol levels, improving bone and dental health, and weight management.
Q. Is Cod fish good for you?
A. Cod is a highly nutritious food with a high concentration of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. It is also low in calories and contains very little fat, and moderate consumption is generally safe. Due to the presence of omega-3, cod can help reduce the risk of hypertension and prevent neural abnormalities and cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, it’s also low in mercury compared to other seafood. Cod fish are also abundant in calcium and potassium, which help in bone growth, improve blood flow, control your blood pressure and avoid hypertension.
Q. Can cod be eaten every day?
A. Cod, like most fish, contains mercury, so don’t eat it every day. Mercury poisoning is dangerous, can lead to neurological and behavioural problems, and can be especially troublesome for children. However, cod consumption in moderation is generally harmless and has no adverse consequences.
Q. How often can I eat cod?
A. According to various studies, you can eat cod at most once or twice a week. Also, fish naturally contain mercury, but too much mercury in the body is toxic. Plus, it can cause neurological and behavioural problems, especially in children. Therefore, cod is generally safe to eat in moderate amounts.
Q. Is cod better than salmon?
A. Fresh salmon fillets are rich, fatty, and tender, whereas Cod fillets are lean, flaky, and slightly firm. Salmon is a fatty fish, making it ideal for use in specific recipes, such as sushi and sashimi. Also, salmon is healthier than cod, although its fillets contain more fat and calories. Salmon is more nutritious because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, potassium, and other vitamins and nutrients. Cod is leaner and has fewer calories than salmon. Potassium, vitamin C, and magnesium are also plentiful in this fish.
Q. Which is healthier, cod or tilapia?
A. In terms of nutrition, cod and tilapia are almost similar. Cod is slightly more nutritious than tilapia, providing a few extra vitamins and minerals such as B6, thiamin, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and zinc. Both contain the same amount of protein, about 23g per fillet. Tilapia is also high in vitamins and minerals, with more B12, B15, iron, and selenium than cod. Both fish are heart-healthy choices due to their omega-3 fatty acids.
Q. Is cod healthy for weight loss?
A. Cod is a wonderful choice for any weight-loss diet, thanks to its moderate flavour and impressive nutrient profile (including vitamins B12 and B6). According to USDA, a regular 100 g serving has only 82 calories and 17.8 grams of protein, which may lead to feeling satiated.
Q. Is frozen cod healthy?
A. It’s a myth that frozen fish isn’t as healthy as fresh fish. Many people believe that fish loses its health benefits when it is frozen. However, it retains the same nutritional value as fresh fish. You’ll get the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein whether you eat fresh or frozen fish.
Q. What nutrients are in cod?
A. The essential nutrients included in cod are vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, choline and iodine. In addition, cod is a weight watcher’s delight as it contains less than 1 gram of fats, carbohydrates, fibre, and sugar. As a result, it includes a good amount of lean protein and fewer calories, resulting in several health advantages.