Cod Fillet: Nutritional Properties, Role in Diet and How to Cook It

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The cod fillet is a product of animal origin obtained from the elaboration of fish belonging to the biological family Gadidae.


It is part of the 1st fundamental group of foods - foods rich in proteins with high biological value, vitamins (many of the B and vitamin D groups) and specific minerals (phosphorus, iron, zinc and iodine), as well as biologically essential omega 3 seeds active eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - but it is actually a derivative, the production of which determines not a few "waste" from processing.

Did you know that ...

Many think that cod is a blue fish. In fact, this fish does not fit into any of the simplistic classifications used in common parlance - which also includes white fish. Once, in the places of origin, it was considered a poor fish, because the Nordic populations managed to catch it with the means of small fishing - to produce stockfish and cod. Today, however, cod are mainly fished using large boats and very sophisticated tools, which have contributed to making them an unsustainable fish product.

Cod fillet is a lean and low-calorie food, which lends itself to most nutritional regimes. In addition to the diet of healthy subjects, it is also suitable for nutritional therapy against overweight and some metabolic pathologies - such as dyslipidemia and primary arterial hypertension.

Compared to most finfish, cod fillet also has the advantage of being practically without bones. This practical advantage is particularly appreciated by those who manage the diet of children, as it greatly reduces cooking times as well as the possibility that a plug ends up in the mouth of children.

Cod fillet can be cooked in a variety of ways, although most consumers prefer effective, quick and undemanding methods - to which it lends itself perfectly. It is generally sautéed with a drizzle of oil, perhaps enriched with cherry tomatoes - or other vegetables - and spices such as oregano and dried chilli. They are very easy to prepare even in the oven, for example au gratin, as our Personal Cooker shows us in the movie. following.

Baked Gratinated Cod Fillets - Very Easy

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Due to its extreme practicality and culinary ductility, as well as its nutritional qualities, cod fillet is, among the fishery products, perhaps the best-selling food in the West. On the other hand, the increase in demand always corresponds to an increase. of the response, therefore of the withdrawal and consequently of the exploitation of resources. As we will see in the last paragraph, the fishing of cod - or rather, of common codG. morhua; they are also related species G. macrocephalus And G. ogac) - has reduced the population density of this fish to the point of making it an endangered species.

with high biological value, specific vitamins and minerals; it also abounds in biologically active semi-essential polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega 3 group and, theoretically, iodine.

It is low in calories, mainly provided by protein, followed by very low amounts of fat; carbohydrates are absent. Peptides contain all essential amino acids in the right proportions and quantities compared to the human protein model. The fatty acids are predominantly semi-essential polyunsaturated of the omega 3 group, more precisely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

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Although cod is considered by most to be a fish high in omega 3 content, this is only partially true. In fact, if on the one hand the percentage of EPA and DHA on the total lipid is unquestionably high, on the other hand the general quantity of fat is very low. Any poor fish, especially blue fish, contains more omega 3 than cod - but also more calories deriving from lipids.

Cod fillet contains no fiber and has a modest concentration of cholesterol. Lactose and gluten are also totally absent, as well as histamine - possibly found in traces. It is instead a relevant source of uric acid and phenylalanine amino acid.

Cod fillet is a good source of water-soluble B vitamins, such as thiamine (B1), niacin (PP), pyridoxine (B6) and cobalamin (B12). The level of fat-soluble vitamin D (calciferol) is very appreciable. Contains useful amounts of phosphorus, iron, zinc and iodine.

For more details on the chemical content you can consult the general article: Cod.

despite the high concentration of proteins, excessive portions may still be inadequate for subjects with digestive complications such as: dyspepsia, gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastric or duodenal ulcer.

The cod fillet is considered the "dietetic fish" based food par excellence, both in sports - for its high protein content - and in the therapeutic field - for the high percentage of omega 3 - and in the field slimming - since nutritional therapies against overweight must be low-calorie and normolipidic. Being very thin, in nutritional therapy against obesity it can also be cooked with a drizzle of oil.

The abundance of proteins with a high biological value makes the cod fillet ideal in the diet of malnourished, defected or with an increased need for essential amino acids. This type of food is recommended in the case of very high intensity physical activity, especially in the disciplines of strength or with a very important hypertrophic muscle component, and for all prolonged aerobic disciplines. Cod fillet is also suitable in case of lactation, pathological intestinal malabsorption and in old age - in which eating disorder and decreased intestinal absorption tend to create a protein deficit.

EPA and DHA, polyunsaturated omega 3 essential but biologically active seeds, are very important for:

  • The constitution of cell membranes
  • The development of the nervous system and eyes - in the fetus and children
  • The prevention and treatment of some metabolic diseases - hypertriglyceridemia, arterial hypertension, etc.
  • The maintenance of cognitive functions in old age
  • The reduction of some symptoms of neurosis - depressive - etc.

Due to the absence of gluten and lactose, cod fillet is relevant in the diet for celiac disease and for milk sugar intolerance. The abundance of purines, on the other hand, makes it unsuitable - especially in considerable portions - in the nutritional regimen for severe hyperuricemia - with gouty attacks - and in that for kidney stones or uric acid lithiasis. Well preserved, it has no contraindication for histamine intolerance. The massive presence of phenylalanine precludes its significant use in the diet against phenylketonuria.

The B vitamins have a mainly coenzyme function; this is why cod fillet can be considered a good source of nutrients that support the cellular functions of all tissues. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is crucial for bone metabolism and the immune system.Note: remember that food sources of vitamin D are very rare.

Did you know that ...

Cod liver contains exponentially higher amounts of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids than cod fillet. In fact, this also applies to the liver of all other fish. Due to its nutritional richness, from this organ is also obtained a derivative - very useful food supplement, cod liver oil. On the other hand, in both cases, products are either decidedly not available on the market, or characterized by a flavor that is not always appreciated.

Iron is a necessary constituent of the heme group, essential for the binding of gases in red blood cells - and beyond. Phosphorus, hardly lacking in the diet, is one of the main constituents of bone (hydroxyapatite) and nervous (phospholipids) tissue. Zinc constitutes enzymes, nucleic acids and proteins of various kinds. Finally, iodine is necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland - responsible for regulating cellular metabolism after secreting the hormones T3 and T4.

Cod fillet is a safe food for:

  • The parasite infestation Anisakis simplex
  • The presence of algal toxins, although this mainly depends on the fish species and the fishing area - in the case of cod, no cases of contamination have been recorded
  • Contamination from pollutants such as mercury and methyl mercury, which accumulate most in large fish at the top of the food chain.

The average portion of cod fillet - as a dish - is 100-150 g.

, even if it does not lend itself to long-lasting or too intense ones. If you want to cook it stewed for example, the times will certainly be much shorter than those of a typically soup fish. It is excellent grilled or sautéed, boiled - either poached in water or steamed, or vacuum-packed or in pots - and fried in vegetable oil.

Grilled or baked in the oven it is not particularly tasty. On the other hand, in mixed cooking, for example in acquapazza, in foil, au gratin or in vegetable crust - to preserve the hydration of the meat - it finds much greater consensus among consumers. In soups it has a controversial role; it is generally avoided due to its poor ability to flavor the recipe.

It must also be remembered that cod and stockfish, or cod preserved by salting or drying, show almost opposite organoleptic and gustatory characteristics - due to the maturing of the meat. They are both excellent both in long and weak cooking and - not without the surprise of the diners - raw in carpaccio.

The food and wine pairing with cod fillet depends above all on the specific recipe, but in principle it favors light white wines.

Stewed Cod Fillets

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Riccardo Borgacci

Graduated in Exercise Science and Dietetics, he practices as a freelance outpatient activity as a dietician and personal trainer
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