Atlantic cod, also sometimes called scrod or whitefish, is a completely different fish from Pacific cod, also called Alaska cod, gray cod or true cod. While both types of cod have different nutrient profiles, cod is one of the fish with the highest amount of protein per calorie, according to the Ask Dr. Sears website.
Calories and Macronutrients
A 3-ounce serving of cooked Atlantic cod provides 81 calories, 19.4 grams of protein and 0.7 gram of fat, as well as 47 milligrams of cholesterol, or 16 percent of the daily value. The same amount of Pacific cod contains 72 calories, 15.9 grams of protein and 0.4 grams of fat, as well as 48 milligrams of cholesterol. Since cod is so low in fat, it isn't a good source of omega-3 fats, providing only about 134 milligrams of this essential fat per serving, out of the 500 milligrams per day recommended by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
B Vitamin Content
The B vitamins are the only vitamins found in significant amounts in cod. These vitamins are essential for a healthy metabolism and nervous system function, and they help keep your hair and skin healthy. Each serving of Atlantic cod provides 11 percent of the daily value, or DV, for niacin, 12 percent of the DV for vitamin B-6 and 15 percent of the DV for vitamin B-12. Pacific cod contains more vitamin B-12, with 33 percent of the DV per serving, but only 6 percent of the DV for niacin and vitamin B-6.
Phosphorus and Selenium
The primary minerals provided by cod are phosphorus, which you need for forming DNA and the hemoglobin in red blood cells, and selenium, which also helps form DNA and acts as an antioxidant to limit cell damage from compounds called free radicals. A 3-ounce portion of Atlantic cod contains 12 percent of the DV for phosphorus and 46 percent of the DV for selenium, while the same amount of Pacific cod supplies 29 percent of the DV for phosphorus and 34 percent of the DV for selenium.
Environmental and Safety Considerations
Atlantic cod is one type of seafood that is the least contaminated with mercury, making it safe for even pregnant women to consume up to 12 ounces per week. Pacific cod is likely to contain slightly higher levels of mercury, so pregnant women shouldn't consume more than six 6-ounce servings per month. If you want to choose the most environmentally friendly option, avoid Pacific cod caught near Japan or Russia and Atlantic cod caught in the United States or Canada, except for that caught in the Gulf of Maine, recommends the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
- Food and Agriculture Organization: The Cod
- Ask Dr. Sears: Ranking Seafood: Which Fish Are Most Nutritious?
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool
- Colorado State University Extension: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- American Pregnancy Association: Mercury Levels in Fish
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch: Atlantic Cod