There are numerous reasons why cod has become such a popular fish in American cuisine. First, it has a mild taste so just about everyone will like it. It's also easy to cook, relatively inexpensive and is available throughout the year, so it's very accessible to a wide variety of people. For those looking for an alternative to meat, cod is a great substitute that is packed with healthy protein. Additionally, cod contains a wide variety of great vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In some cases, these vitamins and minerals are able to help prevent or even treat certain diseases. In this article, we'll explore the many ways in which eating cod can be beneficial to your health, and exactly which health conditions it may help to prevent or treat.
Vitamins and Nutrients
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Omega 3
Cod is a fish that is truly packed with great vitamins and nutrients. The B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6, B3 and B12, are especially prevalent in this fish. Additionally, cod contains plenty of vitamin D, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. In fact, a four ounce portion of cod contains over 50 percent of the daily recommended value for protein.
Nutrients and minerals like phosphorus and potassium are also found in significant amounts in this fish. Cod is very rich in tryptophan and selenium as well. A four ounce serving of cod contains about 90 percent and 75 percent of these important minerals, respectively. Meanwhile, the calorie count in cod remains very low, with just 119 calories in a four ounce portion.
Preventing Disease and Sickness
Cod can possible reduce or prevent the following diseases, ailments and conditions:
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- High cholesterol
- High triglyceride levels
- Pulmonary embolism
- Cancer (e.g. colon cancer)
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
One of the most well-known health benefits of consuming cod is its positive effects on cardiovascular health. In particular, this fish is a great option for people who have atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. That's because omega 3 fatty acids are helpful for thinning the blood and controlling high blood pressure, thereby preventing any blocked arteries. Additionally, those same omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to increase heart rate variability, which is a measure of cardiac functionality, and protects against abnormal heart rhythms and ischemic stroke.
Meanwhile, the vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 in cod help keep homocysteine levels low, which in turn helps to prevent very serious cardiovascular health threats like heart attack and stroke. Cod also contains a significant amount of niacin, which is also known as vitamin B3. This important vitamin is very helpful in ensuring that cholesterol levels don't get too high. Omega 3 fatty acids also help to ensure that triglyceride levels don't get too high, which can lead to high cholesterol. This is also critical for maintaining good cardiovascular health since high cholesterol levels may lead to heart disease.
Many studies have found that eating fish rather than red meat can significantly lower your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, a serious condition in which blood clots form in the deep veins of the legs. Eating fish may also reduce your risk for developing a pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a blood clot in a deep vein breaks off and moves through the venous system.
Eating fish has also been closely linked to a reduced incidence of colon cancer. That's because this health-promoting fish has selenium, vitamin D and vitamin B12, all of which help protect colon cells from toxic substances and cancer-causing chemicals that can cause damage within the body. Some studies have also found that fish can help prevent kidney cancer as well. Similarly, eating fresh fish may also help to lower your risk of getting leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
Other Health Benefits
Some of the most valued health-promoting properties of cod are not related to disease prevention. For instance, the omega 3 fatty acids in cod can prevent cognitive decline due to aging. There are numerous reasons why this occurs, including the fact that the omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties which can improve the blood supply to the brain.
Additionally, the omega 3 fatty acids in cod can reduce depression and stress. This is found to be even more effective when an increase in omega 3 fatty acid consumption is coupled with a decrease in the consumption of foods which are rich in omega 6.
Some Final Notes About Cod
Remember that not all types of cod preparations are created equal. It's best to choose a cod that has been broiled or baked because these don't contain unnecessary or unhealthy ingredients. Try to avoid fried cod if you wish to get the most out of cod's potential health benefits.
Although cod is a great food to add to your diet, it shouldn't be treated as a cure-all for certain diseases and health conditions. Talk to your doctor if you plan to incorporate cod into your daily diet for its potential health benefits.