If you've ever visited Wisconsin, I'm sure you took notice that the Friday Night Fish Fry is almost as important as Packer's football to a majority of the population there. While both are time-honored traditions, those who participate in this long-standing fish fry ritual may not realize that a superfood is actually hiding in that heaping pile of fried fish...cod!
Yes, the lowly cod, so commonly used for fish and chips, is actually filled with nutrients that protect the heart and ward off cancer. Now, of course I'll have to burst your bubble by reminding you that the fried version is not so healthy because of the added trans fat...but it can be just as delicious baked! Pair this simple recipe with some cooked leafy greens and you've got yourself one super-fueled week night dinner.
Fun Facts About Cod
- Cape Cod, Massachusetts was once an excellent location to fish for cod. Hence, it was named after the fish.
- Cod is great for those counting calories! One serving of cod contains only 119 calories, yet has over 50 percent of your recommended dietary intake of protein.
- Cod is an excellent source of tryptophan, potassium, selenium and phosphorus, as well as B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
One of the most important nutrients in cod is the omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to heart health. According to Harvard, the earliest studies of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish confirmed that people who ate high levels of seafood had very low rates of death from chronic heart disease [I]. Omega-3 fatty acids are continuously being used to lower cholesterol levels, improve heart rhythm, prevent blood clots and reduce heart attack risk. Omega-3s also appears to help babies with their neurological development, and may help protect against colon cancer.
If that were not reason enough to add cod to your diet, it has also been linked to a lowered risk of leukemia, multiple myeloma, kidney cancer, Alzheimer's disease and macular degeneration. It is believed to help control and even prevent high blood pressure [III]. The selenium in cod has strong anti-inflammatory properties, and may help to control inflammatory conditions like asthma, arthritis and migraines. Cod also contains tryptophan, which is used to make seratonin, the mood-stabilizing hormone that helps you get a good night's sleep.
Do Yourself A Favor!
So, just to clarify, by eating a serving of cod one to two times a week, you can help to prevent cancer, strengthen your heart, keep your wits about you, and even protect your vision! Why wouldn't you want to add this superfood to your diet?
And in case you need one more reason to eat cod, consider this: as you are enjoying that longer, healthier life, you might even feel happier as well. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have linked omega-3 fatty acids to a lower risk for depression [II].
So the next time you head out for fish on a Friday night, try asking for a grilled or broiled version. Rest assured knowing that you are doing something to help improve your overall health by eating one of nature's superfoods!
[I] Harvard School of Public Health. "New study shows the benefits of eating fish greatly outweigh the risks". 2006. Web. June. 2016. <http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/2006-releases/press10172006.html>.
[II] Logan, Alan. "Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: A primer for the mental health professional". US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Lipids Health Dis. 2004; 3: 25. Web. June. 2016.<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC533861/>.
[III] "Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Health". US National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health. 2005. Web. June. 2016. <https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcidsandHealth-HealthProfessional/>.