We were so excited to sit down with Dr. Bradley Foltz to chat about heart health and the Mediterranean Diet. He’s been practicing anesthesiology for over 30 years and has a breadth of knowledge in the cardiac and sports medicine field. Included below are some tidbits from our chat with Dr. Foltz. Send us a message on Instagram (@lunagrill) to let us know your thoughts!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do, Brad.
I’m Dr. Brad Foltz. I’ve been practicing anesthesia for over 30 years.
I have a unique practice working with two completely different patient populations. I spend roughly half of my time here at the Surgical Center of San Diego (SCSD) and the other half at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla where I work largely in the cardiovascular institute. At Scripps Memorial, I have the opportunity to see a lot of patients that are undergoing heart surgery. At SCSD we do a lot of sports medicine, so I have the unique opportunity to work with high performance athletes whether they are high school, college or professional.
Why do you love what you do?
I’ve found a profession that I really enjoy. It involves a lot of hands on work. It’s very active from a medial standpoint and it’s dynamic. Things change very quickly, and we have to respond to urgent situations, so it is very stimulating. From a personal standpoint I have the opportunity to help people and take them through what is for some people the most stressful experience of their lives and I have the chance to make the experience more pleasant so they have a quick recovery.
Tell us a little bit more about the contrast that you see between the 2 different types of patients in your practices.
At the hospital unfortunately we see a lot of patients who have not taken care of themselves over the years. These patients are typically suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Their lifestyle choices have caught up with them and resulted in some of their medical issues. On the other hand, at the surgery center we see patients that are very concerned and interested in their diets, their performance, taking care of themselves, eating correctly and exercising. It’s really two very different groups of people.
What are your takeaways from that when you see these 2 different groups of patients?
I see in stark contrast what happens when you take good care of yourself (exercising and eating right) vs. not doing that. The difference is pretty substantial and significant; it results in a completely different lifestyle in terms of the kinds of things you can do later in life.
In seeing patients with heart problems, what do you recommend for someone that is just starting their wellness journey and looking to live a more heart-healthy life?
As I mentioned, most of those patients have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and/or diabetes and smoking, diet and activity can play a part in that. Early on if you can be more active, exercise more often (not necessarily vigorous) and eat the right foods in moderation, I believe it will help prevent a lot of these problems. Once you get past a certain point, it’s hard to go back and revert those lifestyle choices and the effects they have on the body.
In your opinion, what makes the Mediterranean Diet so heart healthy?
I’m not an expert on the Mediterranean Diet but I do know they eat a lot of veggies, eat less salt, consume very little red meat and highlight chicken and fish as lean protein choices. More importantly, everything is in moderation and diet/exercise are part of the lifestyle which are very important for the body, the heart, the mind and a healthy life.
What words do you live by?
Work hard, play hard. I work long hours so when I am off work I enjoy golfing, traveling, running and enjoying my time off.
Why is staying active so important to you?
I really enjoy staying active and I know that it’s good for me and I should be doing it. I want to do everything I can to stay healthy.
What types of food and fitness choices do you see athletes today making that someone at home could try?
Athletes tend to incorporate a lot of different things into their training. They are much more conscientious about flexibility, nutrition, training and put a lot of effort into it. Obviously we can’t spend the amount of time and money they spend on nutrition and training; however, we can go in that direction by stretching/conditioning daily and paying more attention to what we eat.
Thank you for joining us during National Mediterranean Diet Month for our testimonial series with healthcare and fitness professionals. Stay tuned for more Mediterranean Diet tips and tricks coming to the blog soon!