In the world of seafood, cod is a quiet cousin. Other fish, especially salmon and tuna, get all the attention as standout sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. But the humble cod is unfairly forgotten, says Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, nutrition manager of the Duke Diet & Fitness Center. "I sometimes think we emphasize the omega-3-rich fish so much that we forget that eating fish in general is a great strategy to control your weight and also [help] prevent heart disease," Politi says.
Cod, which belongs to the same fish family as haddock and pollock, is a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins B6 and B12. Cod liver oil is one of the best sources of vitamin D. Cod is good for you in other ways, too.
"When we eat fish, we tend to eat fewer calories and less saturated fat, which is linked to a lower risk of heart disease," Politi says. Cod has just 30 calories per ounce, a fraction of the calories in red meat or chicken. A 3-ounce serving has 90 calories, plus 19 grams of protein and only 1 gram of fat. Another bonus: Cod is a smart choice if you're watching your cholesterol, because it has almost no saturated fat.
With a mild taste, cod is the perfect backdrop for a variety of flavors, and it cooks in minutes. "It's a great choice if you want to prepare a healthy meal in no time," Politi says.