It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy



Ask Dr. Gourmet

Where is your menu for lowering cholesterol?

Every time I go to your site to look for menus for lowering cholesterol, I end up back at the Mediterranean Diet for low sodium. I do not have a blood pressure problem or salt/sodium problem, just high cholesterol. When can I expect to get a diet menu for that?

Dr. Gourmet Says....

whitefish with vegetables and brown rice cooked in parchment

The information on lowering cholesterol takes you to a Mediterranean style diet because we know that this is one of the best ways to lower cholesterol. This healthy style of eating is also mostly lower in sodium.

We know that a lower sodium diet is a healthier diet. The recipes on the Dr. Gourmet website are not designed to be very low sodium (under 2,000 mg per day) but there are many recipes that are lower sodium. Generally speaking, I try to keep main course recipes around 500 mg and side dish recipes at 250 mg or less.

Many folks are used to higher sodium levels and salty foods. We do know that your taste buds can learn to enjoy lower salt recipes. Here's an article about that: Do Your Salt Taste Buds Learn?

You can begin teaching your salt taste buds by making the recipes as posted on the website, then adding salt to your food at the table. Over time you can reduce the amount of salt you add until the recipes taste right without added salt. In the process you'll improve your cholesterol scores by reducing your intake of saturated fats and increasing fiber and your intake of unsaturated fats.

Thanks for your great question,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet