High blood pressure is a lifestyle disease and can be controlled with changes in your diet and the way you lead your life. Prior to starting medicines to control hypertension, you can follow these tips so that you can at least defer taking medicines unless it is necessary. It is the pressure or the force within arteries with which your heart uses to pump blood to the entire body. It happens when the muscles of the heart contract. The systolic and diastolic numbers give the measurement of the blood pressure. Untreated hypertension can lead to several disorders like cardiovascular disease, kidney ailments, and can also lead to stroke. Steps to reduce high blood pressure Follow these tips so that you can keep blood pressure at bay or at least keep it under control. \t Maintain a healthy weight If you have much weight around the waistline, chances of getting this lifestyle disorder are more. Maintain proper BMI or Body mass index. Being overweight can cause sleep apnea. Even the slightest reduction in weight can work wonders. For a man having a waistline above 40 inches or 102 centimeters is a risk factor and the for a woman, a waistline of 35 inches or 89 centimeters or more is the same. \t Exercise Following an exercise regimen religiously can help you to manage high blood pressure. If you exercise even for 30 minutes daily will suffice. If you cannot exercise, brisk walking for 30 minutes daily or 150 minutes every week will help. Exercises can include yoga and meditation, aerobics, machine workouts, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, skipping, or any form of exercise you are comfortable doing. The only thing you must keep in mind is that do not exert yourself and if you have other ailment or-disorders, consult a medical practitioner for the same. \t Balanced diet A balanced diet helps you stay healthy. It must include the right proportion of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, fats, carbohydrates, and essential nutrients. Include potassium in your diet and reduce the amount of sodium intake. Keep a check on your blood pressure regularly. Include fruits, legumes, nuts, and good fats, and omega-fatty acids in your diet. Develop awareness when you buy food products from the market. Go through the ingredients and do not add any stuff to your shopping cart if the ingredients might upset your blood pressure levels. For instance, it is said MSG or monosodium glutamate, also known as “ajinomoto” is harmful for patients of hypertension. \t Foods you must avoid to reduce high blood pressure As mentioned above, you must reduce sodium in your diet. Avoid adding salt and ideally, your salt intake must not exceed the daily limit. It is said that one teaspoon contains 2,300mg of sodium. Processed foods are not good for consuming regularly. Once in a while it is alright to have a “cheat day” but that is not beyond a day or two in a month. Packaged foods contain chemicals and preservatives that harm the entire system of the body. \t Curtail alcohol and smoking Interestingly, consuming alcohol in moderation, let us say, single drink for women and two drinks for men daily can help in reducing blood pressure by 4mm of Hg. However, exceeding this limit can be harmful. Not only that, too much alcohol can also make the blood pressure medicines ineffective. Smoking is not at all a good habit. You must have found vaping and electronic cigarettes doing their rounds in the market. But be it any form of smoking or vaping, it has adverse effects on your system. \t Curtail caffeine intake Whether or not caffeine has an adverse effect on your blood pressure can be checked by measuring your blood pressure before consuming caffeine and after. Generally, if you have a habit of drinking caffeine regularly, it may not affect your blood pressure remarkably. However, if you develop the habit all of a sudden, you may record a rise in BP by as much as 10mm of Hg. \t Manage stress and anxiety If you have been suffering from stress for prolonged periods, it can contribute to high blood pressure. However, if you have been suffering from occasional stress or anxiety, it can equally be harmful. Find out what is causing the stress and address the issue promptly. There are couple of ways you can reduce stress in your life like- \tMeditate \tTake out some time for yourself even if it means for 30 minutes \tAvoid triggers of stress \t Reduce expectations \tDo not try to control situations that you cannot control and let go \tRelax and enjoy with near and dear ones \tReduce screen time and meet peers and family in person instead of virtually \t Take professional help to control blood pressure If you realize that stress is the cause and this is something you are not being able to manage on your own, seek professional help without wasting time. \t Take prescribed medicines to check blood pressure By following the above measures, you can keep high blood pressure at bay, however, if you have been prescribed medicines for the same, make sure you take it regularly. Missing these medicines can cause your blood pressure to shoot up. \t Monitor BP regularly “Prevention is always better than cure”. So, monitor your BP regularly and if you find that it is fluctuating, record the readings and visit your physician for prompt attention. Our lives are full of tensions and most of us are stressed for some reason or the other. Managing these pitfalls is not easy but it can be curtailed by adopting means that can help to control our blood pressure.