Health Benefits of Cod

The cod is a fish species well known in Portuguese cuisine and is considered one of the foods more appreciated and consumed by residents of Portugal. There is more than one known variety of cod, but the species most consumed by all is the Gadus Marhua, which lives in the cold sea of ​​the North Atlantic.

Like other fish, cod is an easily digestible food. It is rich in proteins that are of high biological value, as well as B complex minerals and vitamins. Cod is also considered a lean fish, whose main fat reservoir is the liver, where the liver oil is extracted from. cod, an important source of vitamins A and D. The food is also a great source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega 3.


Code is a food rich in minerals and vitamins that are essential for maintaining a healthy diet. Among the main properties of the cod are the low fat content and the fact that it is rich in proteins that have a high biological value, in addition to high nutritional values ​​vitaminof vitamins A, B6, B12 and E. Check out the main nutrients present in fish and its benefits for our health:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids : they have a strong protective effect for heart health as well as an important role in brain development;
  • Omega 3 : studies show that this nutrient acts to protect against cardiovascular disease, as it works by improving the functioning of the heart muscles and reducing the risk of a heart attack. In addition, it also works by reducing triglyceride levels, keeping cholesterol levels under control and lowering blood pressure. Other benefits of omega 3 are related to protection against age-related macular degeneration and its anti-inflammatory property, which helps with asthma attacks, migraines and rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. The nutrient also helps to improve concentration and memory, increases our motivation and helps to neutralize stress;
  • Vitamin A : has functions such as maintaining the health of eyesight, skin and hair, strengthening the immune system and ensuring the proper functioning of the reproductive organs. As it is an antioxidant, it is also important for preventing premature aging and cardiovascular disease;
  • Vitamin E : acts mainly to protect the body’s cells, as it is considered an antioxidant vitamin. In addition, it is also known as fertility vitamin or anti-sterile, it is indicated for women who are treated to become pregnant. Vitamin E also helps reduce menstrual pain and increase muscle energy;
  • vitamins : cod has doses of vitamin B6 and B12, both of which act to reduce homocysteine, a protein that, when present at high levels in the body, increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, heart attack or Alzheimer’s. Vitamin B6 is essential for the absorption of sugars, fats and proteins in the body, as well as being essential for the growth and development of the skin, nerves and our brain. Vitamin B12 is important for our metabolism, as it helps in the formation of red blood cells and maintenance of our central nervous system. It also helps our immunization system and in controlling blood glucose levels;
  • Calcium : it is essential for the construction of our muscles and, in addition, it also acts in the contraction and expansion of our arteries, in the secretion of enzymes and hormones and also in sending messages to our brain, through the nervous system;
  • Magnesium : helps in muscle contraction and energy metabolism;
  • Sodium : is considered an important electrolyte, as it acts in nerve transmission, in addition to muscle contraction and fluid balance in our body;
  • Phosphorus : plays an essential role in the formation of our bones and teeth, as well as intervening in the chemical reactions in which our energy is released;
  • Protein : it is essential for the proper functioning of our muscles and for the reconstitution of parts of our body that are exhausted after the practice of physical exercises or sports activities;
  • Niacin : helps reduce bad cholesterol levels. Therefore, consuming cod helps to regulate cholesterol and consequently to reduce the chances of developing a cardiovascular disease.


Cod is usually sold dry and salted, but you can find it in markets already soaked and deep-frozen, as well as fresh in fillets and slices. The process of drying and salting the food is natural and no chemical substances are added to it, thus, the natural properties of the cod are preserved.

When purchasing salted cod, before consuming it, it is necessary to soak it to reduce its high sodium content. Also, during preparation, it is not necessary to add extra salt to the food. The soaking period is at least 24 hours and, for larger pieces, 48 ​​hours. If the cod is shredded, these hours reduce to six.


Like other foods, cod can be eaten in a healthy way. Cod cooked with potatoes and vegetables, its most traditional format and widely consumed at Christmas time, is one of the examples of healthy recipes using fish. By including other products, such as mayonnaise, cream or butter, we change the caloric value of the food. Therefore, it is recommended to opt for forms of preparation that favor nutritional value, such as roasted, grilled or boiled.

Currently, there are different ways to prepare cod, among the healthiest and most well-known options are roasted fish with egg whites, with chickpeas, baked cod dumplings, cod with punched potatoes, bifum salad with cod, eggplant stuffed with cod and cod tapioca.


When removing the frying from the cod cake, it becomes healthier. To prepare the dish, which yields around 30 units, you need 500g of dry cod, a chopped onion, a tablespoon of olive oil, 500g of boiled and mashed potatoes, an egg, two tablespoons of chopped parsley, half coffee spoon with black pepper, a cup of chives, a cup of wheat flour and a tablespoon of oil or olive oil for brushing.

The first step is to soak the cod, leaving it to soak in the water for 24 hours, in the refrigerator. After this period, drain the water and shred the fish. Then, saute the onion in oil and add the cod. Keep stirring for about five minutes and remove. Then mix the egg, potato, parsley, wheat flour and sautéed cod in a container. Grease your hands with olive oil or oil and make the cakes with the mixture. Place them on a baking sheet, preferably non-stick, and brush with oil or olive oil. Place the pan in a hot oven at 200ºC for about 30 minutes.


The Portuguese cod recipe is quite traditional in the European country and widely consumed at Christmas time. To prepare it you will need a kilo of desalted cod cut into medium pieces, 500 grams of sliced ​​potatoes, three medium onions, three peppers (one of each color), five skinless tomatoes and sliced, 100g of black olives large, four boiled and halved eggs, a sprig of thyme, chopped green scent to taste and extra virgin olive oil to taste.

First, in a heatproof bowl, place the rolled potatoes covering the entire bottom. Then make layers using the cod, peppers, tomatoes and onions, at random, until the ingredients run out. Finish the dish by placing the olives and peppers on top. Then, drizzle the refractory with extra virgin olive oil and bake for 30 minutes over high heat. After roasting, sprinkle green scent to taste and place the cut eggs. The best thing is to serve the dish accompanied by white rice.

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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