The Best Fish For Kidney Disease: Featuring Cod

Cod, a white fish with firm flesh, thrives in the cold waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Renowned for its gentle taste and robust, flaky consistency, it is a preferred selection for dishes such as fish and chips, fish tacos, and fish stews, among an array of other recipes. This is one of the best fish for kidney disease.

Most nutrition recommendations like the Mediterranean diet recommend the consumption of 8 ounces (around two servings) of fish and seafood on a weekly basis. Cod stands as a nutritious option to fulfill this goal, with cod being a fish with low to moderate mercury levels, it can be consumed regularly without safety concerns.

The Best Fish For Kidney Diseases – Nutritional Benefits of Cod

High in Lean Protein and Nutrient-Dense– Cod is high in protein but low in calories, fat, and carbs, providing 17.5 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce fillet. Plus with a low-fat content makes cod a lean source of protein and can be associated with promoting heart health. 

Low Phosphorus Meat for CKD– White fish such as cod is a heart healthy, low phosphorous meat. When cooked, white fish has a phosphorus content of 285 mg/100gm (3.5oz) serving. This is a good choice for your kidney diet; however, the amount of phosphorus you may consume daily depends on your stage of kidney disease and your type of dialysis. 

Renal Potassium– Cod is often referred to as a high-potassium fish with 434 mg/100gm (3.5oz) serving. This does not mean cod is not kidney-friendly! Not everyone with CKD needs a potassium restriction, and even if you do, you will have a potassium budget such that foods like cod can be consumed in moderation. 

Good Source of B Vitamins– Both Pacific and Atlantic cod are good sources of B vitamins, particularly B6 and niacin which are required for chemical reactions in the body, as well as B12, which helps form red blood cells and DNA. 

Low in Mercury– Compared to fish like halibut, bass, and tuna which contain mercury, cod is much lower, making it an ideal option for those avoiding the consumption of toxins.

How To Season and Flavour White Fish

Dillweed, parsley, garlic, celery, paprika, and ginger are great herbs and spices that complement white fish. This blend of seasonings adds a delightful and nuanced taste that enhances the fish’s freshness and delicacy without overpowering it.

Crafting your own spice blend at home is simple and offers the advantage of having control over what goes into it. The blend becomes distinctive to your preferences, alleviating concerns about hidden MSG, excessive salt, or preservatives.

Why Start With Cod If You Are Not A Fish Lover

Mild Flavour: Cod has a relatively mild and subtle flavor compared to some other fish varieties. This makes it a good choice for those who are not used to strong fish flavors.

Versatility: The neutral taste of cod makes it versatile and adaptable to a wide range of seasonings, herbs, and cooking methods. This allows for experimentation and customization of flavour according to preferences.Texture: Cod has a firm and flaky texture that many people find appealing. The texture is less “fishy” compared to some other fish, which can often be more appealing to those new to the consumption of fish.


Mediterranean Cod

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2


  • 8 oz fresh skinless cod
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium white onion, quartered
  • 4 leeks, chopped (White and light green parts)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the cod on the prepared baking sheet and arrange the bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, and leeks around it.
  • In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, pepper, red pepper flakes, parsley, and garlic powder. Drizzle over the fish and vegetables on the baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the fish is flaky, tender, and no longer translucent.


Per serving: Calories: 183; Protein: 11g; Total fat: 7.5g; Saturated fat: 1g; Total carbohydrates: 19g; Fiber: 3.5g; Cholesterol: 22mg; Phosphorus: 112mg.
This recipe was adapted from The Complete Renal Diet Cookbook.

This article was written by Neha Dewan, Nutrition Student Volunteer.
This article was reviewed by Emily Campbell, RD CDE MScFN.

2 thoughts on “The Best Fish For Kidney Disease: Featuring Cod”

  1. I don’t like cod fish, unfortunately. The only white fish I like are haddock, halibut and tilapia. My personal favorite is salmon, which I had tonight! I would think that salmon is “kidney friendly” due to good sources of omega fatty acids.

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