Pacific Cod vs Sockeye (Pacific Salmon) Which is Better?


Pacific cod and sockeye salmon are both commonly eaten fish from the Pacific Ocean. Since they’re both packed with vitamins and minerals, many people wonder which one is better, pacific cod or sockeye salmon?

Sockeye salmon is better than pacific cod due to its higher percentage of vitamins and minerals. Sockeye also contains 540% more heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Sockeye salmon is more flavorful due to its healthy fat content compared to pacific cod’s milder taste. 

This article will include a side-by-side nutrient comparison between the two fish. I’ll compare their tastes, textures, costs and whether one can substitute for the other. If you’re wondering about mercury, I’ll discuss their mercury levels also.

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Pacific Cod and Sockeye Nutritional Values

The following table compares the nutrients contained in pacific cod and sockeye salmon:

Nutrient Sockeye Salmon, raw (4 Ounces) Pacific Cod, raw (4 Ounces)
Calories 149 78
Fat 5.3 g 0.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g 0.1 g
Cholesterol 58 mg 53 mg
Protein 25 g 17 g
Omega-3 0.97 g 0.15 g
B-6 0.8 mg 0.1 mg
B-12 5.3 mcg 2.2 mcg
Thiamin 0.15 mg 0.03 mg
Riboflavin 0.23 mg 0.05 mg
B5 1.2 mg 0.3 mg
Iron 0.4 mg 0.2 mg
Niacin 9.6 mg 1.2 mg
Folate 6.8 mcg 7.9 mcg
Potassium 416 mg 266 mg
Magnesium 34 mg 22 mg
Phosphorus 291 mg 318 mg
Calcium 10.2 mg 9.0 mg
Zinc 0.5 mg 0.3 mg
Selenium 33.8 mcg 26.0 mcg

Nutrient Sources 1 2

While examining the table above both fish contain a wide variety of healthy nutrients. Therefore, which is healthier, pacific cod or sockeye salmon?

Sockeye salmon is healthier than pacific cod due to its higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and minerals. Sockeye provides more protein, B6, B12, thiamin, riboflavin, B5, iron, niacin, potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and selenium.

Pacific cod is also nutritious and offers many of the same nutrients but in smaller percentages. Pacific cod does contain a higher percentage of folate and phosphorus. In addition, if counting calories, pacific cod contains less calories, fat and cholesterol.

Although the less fat from pacific cod is due to its lower heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The next section about health benefits explains why they are so important to your health.

Pacific Cod and Sockeye Salmon Health Benefits

Both fish provide the same nutrients and therefore the same benefits. Although I broke down the benefits by which fish offers the higher percentage of each nutrient 3.

Sockeye (Pacific Salmon) Health Benefits

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Sockeye salmon provides 0.97 grams of omega-3 and pacific cod 0.15 grams per four ounces raw. Sockeye salmon contains approximately 540% 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. The omega-3s in sockeye may help with the following:

  • Keeping bad cholesterol low.
  • Keeping good cholesterol high.
  • Reducing inflammation.
  • Reducing plaque build-up.
  • Lowering triglycerides
  • Help keep the heart rhythms more normal.

DHA and EPA, two of the fatty acids, are associated with lowering blood pressure and improving the health of blood vessels 4.

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 pacific cod compared to Atlantic cod in omega-3s check out my article, Pacific Cod vs Atlantic Cod – What’s The Difference?

Potassium

Sockeye salmon contains 416 mg per four raw ounces and pacific cod 266. Since the recommended daily amount is 4,700 mg, sockeye provides an excellent number.

Potassium is beneficial for reducing sodium intake. It helps the body reduce fluids and rids excess sodium 5. This process helps to reduce blood pressure.

The more potassium you consume, the more sodium your body will lose. Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 6.

According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and increased blood pressure 7.

Magnesium

Sockeye salmon provides 34 mg and pacific cod 22 mg per four ounces. 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 8. More so, it helps keep blood pressure levels balanced and stable. A recent study researched 22 studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased diastolic and systolic blood pressure 9.

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.

Selenium

Sockeye and pacific cod contain a good amount of selenium. Selenium is an underreported nutrient. I’m unsure why because studies 10 show selenium may help to protect the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Thyroid
  • The immune system
  • Cognitive issues

Calcium

Both fish 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 11. Calcium also helps the following:

  • Build and maintains strong bones.
  • Muscles need calcium to function properly.
  • Improve nerve function.

B Vitamins

Of the seven B vitamins listed in the table above, sockeye salmon contained a higher percentage of six of them. 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
  • Digestion
  • Energy levels

Salmon and cod is renowned for being a part of many diets like keto or heart healthy.

If you’re eating low-carb or want to give keto a try, many of my clients have followed this 28-Day Keto Challenge with great success. Visit their website and check it out.

Pacific Cod Health Benefits

Folate

Also known as B9, pacific cod provides 7.9 mcg per four ounces. A deficiency in folate has been linked to depression in people with epilepsy. Low folate has been associated with an increased risk of depression 12.

Folic acid (B9) can improve blood flow and help blood vessels to relax. In a study of over 3,000 women, the findings suggest that using folic acid containing supplements may lower the risk for high blood pressure during pregnancy and preeclampsia 13.

Phosphorus

Pacific cod provides 318 mg and sockeye 291 mg of phosphorus per four ounces. Phosphorus has been shown in studies to may help the following:

  • Muscle contraction.
  • Muscle recovery after exercise.
  • Promoting healthy nerve conduction.
  • Promote bone and teeth strength.
  • Aids the kidneys in waste removal.
  • Help the body manage and store energy.

Pacific Cod and Sockeye Salmon: 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 from the Pacific Ocean, does sockeye salmon taste like pacific cod?

Sockeye doesn’t taste like pacific cod. Sockeye has a fishier taste than cod which doesn’t taste fishy at all. Cod is mild to sweet tasting and is buttery. Sockeye salmon and pacific cod both have a firm texture although sockeye is softer than pacific cod. 

Sockeye salmon has a rich, fishy flavor. It’s slightly oily due to its high fat content. The texture is firm and dense although it’s buttery and feels like it melts in your mouth when properly cooked.

Pacific cod has a non-fishy and mild taste. The mild taste can be sweet at times and is good for people who don’t like a fishy tasting seafood. Pacific cod’s texture is firm, flaky and moist if cooked properly. Pacific cods are moister than Atlantic cods.

Pacific Cod and Sockeye Salmon Substitutes

Sometimes you won’t have the exact fish in your refrigerator or freezer for a recipe. Sometimes the seafood section of the supermarket doesn’t have the salmon or cod you need. Therefore, can you substitute pacific cod for sockeye salmon?

Pacific cod can substitute for sockeye salmon although the flavors are different as sockeye tastes more oily and fishy. They have similar textures and the same cooking methods can be used. Pacific cod and sockeye can be cooked by frying, baking, broiling, steaming or poaching.

What is a good substitute for pacific cod? Good substitutes for Pacific cod include:

  • Pollock
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Striped bass
  • Tilapia
  • Mahi mahi

The best sockeye salmon substitutes include:

  • Pollock
  • Pink salmon
  • Cod
  • Trout
  • Sea bass
  • Halibut
  • Hake

When substituting Pacific cod or sockeye 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 14.

If you’re interested in finding out how the sockeye salmon compared to coho salmon, check out my article here, Coho Salmon vs Sockeye: What’s The Difference?

How Much Does Sockeye Salmon and Pacific Cod Cost

The costs for sockeye or pacific 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 pacific cod or sockeye, be sure to check the label to see if it is wild-caught or farm raised. Therefore, which is more expensive, sockeye salmon or pacific cod?

Sockeye salmon is more expensive than pacific cod. The average cost for wild caught sockeye is $14.99 per pound while the average cost for wild caught pacific cod is $8.99 per pound. The cost will vary depending on location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh or frozen.

I checked the local Shopright supermarket, in store and online, and found the following prices for sockeye and pacific cod.

  • Fresh wild caught Alaska cod fillet
    • $8.99 per pound
  • Fresh wild sockeye salmon
    • $14.99 per pound

Sockeye Salmon and Pacific Cod Mercury Levels

The EPA and FDA have issued warnings and suggestions regarding mercury levels in fish and how often they should be consumed 15. 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 sockeye salmon or pacific cod have more mercury?

Sockeye salmon and pacific cod have similar levels of mercury. They are both listed on the FDA’s best choices of fish to consume regarding their mercury levels. The recommendation is consuming them no more than two to three servings 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.

Sockeye Salmon vs Pacific Cod: Habitats, Size, Weight, Appearance

What is the difference between sockeye salmon and pacific cod?

Sockeye salmon and pacific cod are from different families. The average pacific cod is longer than a sockeye although they weigh approximately the same. Sockeye salmon has more color with silver, greenish-blue and bright red coloring while pacific cod is brownish. Sockeye are anadromous while pacific cod is salt water. 

Scientific Classifications, Families, Species

  • Sockeye salmon are from the salmonidae family, oncorhynchus genus and the species O. nerka.
  • Pacific cod are from the Gadidae family, Gadus genus and the species Macrocephalus.

Habitats

  • Sockeye can be found in northwest Alaska to the west coast rivers in Oregon.
  • 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.

Colors

  • While spending their time in the ocean, sockeye have silver sides, white bellies and greenish-blue on their backs. Back in the freshwater, during spawning, their bodies turn bright red and the head green.
  • Pacific cod is brownish with dark spots with a cream lateral line running down the body.

Appearance

  • Sockeye salmon has a long, narrow body and two dorsal fins. Spawning males develop a humped back.
  • Pacific cod is the typical long, narrow body shape and has three dorsal fins.

Size and Weight

  • Sockeye salmon grows an average 18-30″ in length and weighs 4-15 pounds.
  • Pacific cod grows an average 25-30″ in length and weighs 5-15 pounds.

Age

  • Sockeye salmon averages 4-5 years.
  • Pacific cod lives 20 years or less.

Species Resources 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Read Next – More Salmon and Cod Articles!

Atlantic vs Wild Salmon: Which Is Better?

Pink vs Red Salmon: What’s The Difference?

Cod vs Salmon: Is One Better?

Sockeye vs King Salmon: A Complete Comparison

Alaska Pollock vs Atlantic Pollock: Which Is Better?

 

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, sockeye, salmon[]
  2. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Pacific, cod[]
  3. FDA: Seafood Nutrition Facts[]
  4. National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease[]
  5. American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[]
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach[]
  7. Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure[]
  8. National Institutes of Health: Magnesium[]
  9. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis[]
  10. National Institutes of Health: Selenium[]
  11. Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure[]
  12. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Is Depression Related to Low Folate Levels in People with Epilepsy? An Observational Study and Meta-analysis[]
  13. Women And Birth: Folic acid supplement use and the risk of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia[]
  14. Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions[]
  15. FDA: Advice about Eating Fish[]
  16. The University of Maine: Maine Seafood Guide – Cod[]
  17. NOAA Fisheries: Pacific Cod[]
  18. Wikipedia: Cod[]
  19. Wikipedia: Pacific cod[]
  20. Oceana: Sockeye Salmon[]
  21. NOAA Fisheries: Sockeye Salmon[]
  22. Wikipedia: Sockeye salmon[]
  23. Pure Alaska Salmon Co: Red Salmon Versus Pink Salmon Versus Tuna[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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