The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating at least 8 ounces of seafood each week to help fight cardiovascular disease. Both salmon and cod contribute to your weekly seafood intake and provide you with essential nutrients. Salmon provides more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than cod, but cod serves as a richer source of other nutrients, including minerals and vitamins.
Protein and Fat
Salmon and cod both provide ample amounts of protein -- 30 grams per 6-ounce serving of cod or 33 grams for an equivalent serving of salmon. Protein provides amino acids, which help maintain healthy tissues, including muscle tissue. Salmon serves as a richer source of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, providing 2.4 grams of these fats per serving, compared to just 0.3 grams in cod. DHA and EPA help maintain your cardiovascular health, contribute to cell membrane structure and support proper brain function.
Salmon and cod both serve as excellent sources of selenium, and a serving of either fish provides your entire daily selenium requirements, according to the Institute of Medicine. Selenium supports healthy thyroid function, activates antioxidant proteins that shield your tissues from damage and keeps your blood vessels healthy.
Reach for cod as a richer source of iron, a mineral that helps your cells produce energy and promotes healthy circulation. A 6-ounce serving of cod provides 1.4 milligrams of iron -- 18 percent of the recommended daily intake for men or 8 percent for women, according to the Institute of Medicine -- compared to just 0.7 milligrams in 6 ounces of salmon.
Cod also serves as a superior source of vitamins, including niacin and vitamin B-12. A 6-ounce serving of cod provides 13.4 milligrams of niacin -- 96 percent of the recommended daily intake for women or 84 percent for men -- compared to 3.5 milligrams in an equivalent serving of salmon. It also contains 5.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 -- your entire daily recommended intake, according to the Institute of Medicine -- while salmon offers 1.6 micrograms. Getting enough niacin helps your body produce energy and aids in cell communication, while vitamin B-12 nourishes your nervous system and promotes good circulation.
Healthy Cooking Tips
Whether you opt for cod or salmon, practice healthful cooking techniques for optimal health benefits. Don't fry your fish; instead bake, broil or grill it to avoid having to add extra oil. Pair salmon or cod with healthy sides -- try serving it on a bed of steamed kale seasoned with garlic and lemon juice, and add a side of grilled vegetables or oven-baked sweet potato fries. Experiment with healthy seasonings, such as lime juice and cilantro, lemon juice and dill or fresh basil and garlic.
- USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov: Why Is It Important to Make Lean or Low-Fat Choices from the Protein Foods Group?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Fish, Salmon, Atlantic, Wild, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Fish, Cod, Atlantic Raw
- McKinley Health Center: Macronutrients: the Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat
- Linus Pauling Institute: Essential Fatty Acids
- Linus Pauling Institute: Selenium
- Linus Pauling Institute: Iron
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin B-12
- Linus Pauling Institute: Niacin
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.