Whether your cod comes from the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean, you're making a healthy seafood choice. Cod is low in fat and calories, but it also contains protein and several key vitamins and minerals that you need for good health. Though cod doesn't contain as much heart-healthy unsaturated fats as salmon, it's still a nutritious addition to your diet because eating any kind of fish can be good for your heart, according to the American Heart Association.
You need 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 each day. Though Pacific cod supplies more vitamin B-12 than Atlantic cod, both varieties of fish are good sources. A 3-ounce serving of Pacific cod supplies 1.96 micrograms of vitamin B-12, and the same amount of Atlantic cod provides 0.89 milligram. Vitamin B-12 plays a role in the formation of red blood cells and supports the proper function of your central nervous system.
Women need 14 milligrams of vitamin B-3 each day, and men require 16 milligrams. Vitamin B-3, or niacin, helps you convert food into energy and supports a healthy metabolism. The vitamin plays a role in the health and maintenance of your hair, skin, eyes and liver. Vitamin B-3 also improves circulation and promotes the secretion of certain hormones. A 3-ounce serving of Pacific cod contains 1.14 milligrams of vitamin B-3, and the same amount of Atlantic cod supplies 2.13 milligrams.
A 3-ounce serving of Pacific cod contains less than half a gram of total fat, of which only a trace amount is saturated. The same serving size of Atlantic cod contains less than 1 gram of fat, of which only a tiny amount is saturated. The majority of the fat in cod is heart-healthy unsaturated fat, specifically omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids can lower blood pressure, reduce triglyceride levels, slow the formation of arterial plaque and decrease the risk of an abnormal heartbeat, according to the American Heart Association. A serving of cod contains between 0.15 and 0.24 gram of omega-3 fatty acids. By comparison, a serving of salmon supplies between 1.1 and 1.9 grams of the fatty acids.
Season a serving of cod with fresh herbs and spices and toss it on the grill. Serve it with grilled potatoes and vegetables for a nutritious and well-balanced meal. Combine cooked cod with low-fat mayonnaise, dill and black pepper and use the mixture as a tasty sandwich filling. Add cod to seafood stew as another way to incorporate it into your diet.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Fish, Cod, Atlantic, Cooked, Dry Heat
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Fish, Cod, Pacific, Cooked, Dry Heat
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B12
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- American Heart Association: Fish 101
- MayoClinic.com: Sodium: How to Tame Your Salt Habit Now
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.