Cod and Mahi Mahi are two popular fish people love to cook with. They both have different tastes, nutritional values and textures. When deciding for your next meal, you may wonder, what is the difference between cod and Mahi Mahi?
Cod tastes milder and less fishy than Mahi Mahi. Cod provides a higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acids, more protein and less cholesterol. They are different species of fish. Mahi Mahi has more color, is longer and weighs more. Mahi Mahi costs more than cod and contains more mercury.
This article will include a side-by-side comparison of all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients contained in both fish. In addition, I’ll examine their benefits, tastes, textures, mercury levels, costs and if one can substitute for the other.
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Cod and Mahi Mahi Nutrient Comparison
Below is a complete nutrient comparison of cod and Mahi Mahi per four ounces:
|Nutrient||Cod, raw (4 Ounces)||Mahi Mahi, raw (4 Ounces)|
|Fat||0.8 g||0.8 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.1 g||0.2 g|
|Cholesterol||49 mg||83 mg|
|Protein||23 g||21 g|
|Omega-3||0.22 g||0.13 g|
|B-6||0.2 mg||0.4 mg|
|B-12||1.0 mcg||0.6 mcg|
|Thiamin||0.08 mg||0.02 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.07 mg||0.07 mg|
|B5||0.1 mg||0.8 mg|
|Iron||0.4 mg||1.2 mg|
|Niacin||2.3 mg||6.9 mg|
|Folate||7.9 mcg||5.6 mcg|
|Potassium||468 mg||471 mg|
|Magnesium||36 mg||34 mg|
|Phosphorus||230 mg||162 mg|
|Calcium||18.1 mg||17.0 mg|
|Zinc||0.5 mg||0.5 mg|
|Selenium||37.5 mcg||41.3 mcg|
Both fish contain a wide variety of similar nutrients. Cod contains more of some nutrients while Mahi Mahi contains more of others. Therefore, is cod healthier than Mahi Mahi?
Cod is healthier than Mahi Mahi due to its 75% more heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, more protein, less cholesterol, less saturated fat and calories. Cod contains more B12, thiamin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Mahi Mahi contains more unhealthy mercury than cod.
Mahi Mahi is also nutritious and offers many vitamins and minerals. Mahi Mahi provides a higher percentage of B6, B5, iron, niacin, potassium and selenium.
It’s difficult to argue against either fish but the main difference between the two is the number of omega-3s. Keep reading because the next section explains why omega-3s are so important.
Mahi Mahi and Cod Health Benefits
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Mahi Mahi provides 0.13 grams and cod 0.22 grams per four ounces raw. Cod contains approximately 75% more which leads to the question, why does omega-3 fatty acids matter so much?
It’s because omega-3 fatty acids are heart healthy and help keep arteries healthy. One way they accomplish this is by keeping bad cholesterol low and good cholesterol high.
DHA and EPA, two of the fatty acids, are associated with lowering blood pressure and improving the health of blood vessels 3.
In addition, they help keep the blood vessels healthy by reducing inflammation, plaque build-up, triglycerides and can help keep the heart rhythms more normal.
Studies suggest omega-3s can help reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis. They may also boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.
If you’re wondering how cod compared to salmon in omega-3s check out my article, Cod vs Salmon: Is One Better?
Mahi Mahi and cod provide almost the same amount of magnesium 4. Adding magnesium to your diet could be instrumental in improving sleep related issues like insomnia.
Magnesium relaxes and calms the whole body including the blood vessels 5. More so, it helps keep blood pressure levels balanced and stable. A recent study researched 22 studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 6.
Magnesium helps control muscle and nerve function, blood sugar and blood pressure. In the muscles and heart, magnesium competes with calcium to help the muscles relax after contracting.
When the body is low in magnesium, calcium can over stimulate the heart muscle’s cells causing a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
Of the seven B vitamins listed in the table above, Mahi Mahi contained a higher percentage of three of them and so did cod. They both contain the same number of riboflavin.
The B vitamins in the table include B6, B12, B5, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B9 (folate). B vitamins help support the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Red blood cells
- Brain function
- Nerve function
- Energy levels
Cod and Mahi Mahi provide a good amount of calcium. Like magnesium, calcium is important for blood pressure and the heart. Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure because it helps to control the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 7.
Cod and Mahi Mahi contain almost 500 mg of potassium each. Potassium is beneficial for reducing sodium intake. It helps the body reduce fluids and rids excess sodium 8. This process helps to reduce blood pressure.
Mahi Mahi and cod contain good amounts of selenium. Studies 9 show selenium may help to protect the following:
- Heart disease
- The immune system
- Cognitive issues
Mahi Mahi and Cod: Tastes and Textures
One of the most important things people takes into consideration when choosing a fish is its taste. When comparing the two fish, does Mahi Mahi taste like cod?
Mahi Mahi and cod have a mild to sweet taste, but Mahi Mahi is less mild. Cod tastes more buttery while the darker flesh of Mahi Mahi can taste fishier.
Mahi Mahi taste can range from mild to sweet depending which part of the flesh you’re eating. The darker area has a more pronounced flavor similar to swordfish but not as much. Its firm, moist texture has large flakes.
Cod has a non-fishy mild taste. The mild taste can be sweet at times and is good for people who don’t like a fishy tasting seafood. Cod’s texture is firm, flaky and moist if cooked properly. Pacific cods are moister than Atlantic cods.
Mahi Mahi and Cod Substitutions
When preparing recipes for dinner it’s not always possible to locate the type of fish called for. If you have some cod, you may ask, can I substitute cod for Mahi Mahi?
Cod can substitute for Mahi Mahi due to their similar mild to sweet tastes although Mahi Mahi’s flavor is stronger. They both have a firm texture allowing similar cooking methods like grilling. Cod and Mahi Mahi can be grilled, baked, roasted, poached, fried or seared.
Other cod substitutes include the following:
- Striped bass
- Mahi mahi
The best Mahi Mahi substitutes are:
- Striped bass
- Rainbow trout
- White Sea bass
When substituting Mahi Mahi or cod always stick to the following:
- Same size and weight.
- Stick with similar fillets, whole fillet or cross section.
- Stick with skinless or skin when the recipe calls for one.
- Texture is more important for certain cooking methods. Like using a firmer texture when grilling 10.
How Much Does Mahi Mahi and Cod Cost
The costs for Mahi Mahi or cod will vary depending on how the fish are caught. A cod caught in the ocean will definitely be more expensive than farm-raised cod.
When purchasing cod or Mahi Mahi, be sure to check the label to see if it is wild-caught or farm raised. Therefore, which is more expensive, Mahi Mahi or cod?
Mahi Mahi is more expensive than cod. The average cost for wild caught Mahi Mahi is $18.99 per pound while the average cost for wild caught cod is $16.99 per pound. The cost will vary depending on location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh or frozen.
I checked the local Freshdirect online supermarket for the current prices of Mahi Mahi and cod.
- Fresh, frozen, wild Atlantic cod
- $12.49 per pound
- Fresh, wild caught Atlantic cod
- $16.99 per pound
- Wild Mahi Mahi fillet
- $18.99 per pound
Cod and Mahi Mahi Mercury Levels
The EPA and FDA have issued warnings and suggestions regarding mercury levels in fish and how often they should be consumed 11. This is especially important for young infants, developing children and pregnant women.
They established a list of best fish, good choices and ones to avoid based on their mercury levels. Therefore, does cod or Mahi Mahi have more mercury?
Mahi Mahi contains more mercury than cod. Cod is listed on the FDA’s best choices of fish to consume regarding their mercury levels. Mahi Mahi is listed as a good choice which should be limited to one serving a week.
Always check with a physician prior to eating new foods or changing your dietary habits.
If you’re interested in finding about how sea bass compared to cod, check out my article, Sea Bass vs Cod- Is One Better? Let’s Compare.
Cod vs Mahi Mahi: Habitats, Size, Weight, Appearance
What is the difference between cod and Mahi Mahi?
Mahi Mahi and cod are from different families and species. The average Mahi Mahi is longer and weighs more than cod. Mahi Mahi has more color with greenish and gold coloring while cod is brownish. Mahi Mahi can be found in seas and oceans worldwide while cod is found in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.
Scientific Classifications, Families, Species
Mahi Mahi is from the Coryphaenidae family, Coryphaena genus and the species C. hippurus. Mahi Mahi is also known as dolphinfish or dorado.
Cod are from the Gadidae family, Gadus genus and the species include:
- Morhua (Atlantic cod)
- Macrocephalus (Pacific cod)
- Ogac (Greenland cod)
Mahi Mahi can be found worldwide. Some of the common places include the following:
- The west coast of North and South America
- The Atlantic coast of Florida and Africa
- The Gulf of Mexico
- The Pacific coast of Costa Rica
- Indian Ocean
- South China Sea
- Southeast Asia
Approximately one-third of the U.S. Mahi Mahi comes from the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. The remaining comes from the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.
Atlantic cod is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean from Greenland to North Carolina and in the western Gulf of Maine. Pacific cod is found in the North Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea to California in the east and to the Sea of Japan in the west 12.
- Mahi Mahi is an electric greenish blue towards the top. The lower body is goldfish and the tail appears yellowish.
- Cod is brownish with dark spots with a cream lateral line running down the body.
- The Mahi Mahi adult males have a square head while the females have a rounded head. The have about 55-66 dorsal fin rays extending from the head almost to the tail. Their bodies are more compressed.
- Cod is the typical long, narrow body shape and has three dorsal fins.
Size and Weight
- Mahi Mahi grow an average 39″ in length and weighs 15-29 pounds.
- Cod grows an average 27-34″ in length and weighs 5-15 pounds.
- Mahi Mahi lives up to 5 years but seldom exceed 4 years.
- Cod lives up to 12 years.
Read Next – More Cod vs Fish Articles!
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- Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, cod
- Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, mahimahi
- National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease
- Nutrition Value: Cod, raw
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure
- American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
- National Institutes of Health: Selenium
- Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions
- FDA: Advice about Eating Fish
- Wikipedia: Cod
- NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Cod
- Mass.gov: Learn about Atlantic cod
- The University of Maine: Maine Seafood Guide – Cod
- Wikipedia: Mahi-mahi
- NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Mahi Mahi
- NOAA Fisheries: Pacific Mahimahi