High blood pressure is a common health concern that can have serious consequences if left unaddressed. As we age, the risk of developing high blood pressure increases, making it important to take action to maintain stable blood pressure levels. Luckily, by following a well-balanced diet and staying active, you can help keep your blood pressure in check. Read on for tips on what to do (and what to avoid) to maintain healthy blood pressure levels and live your best life.

Did you know that at least one in four adults in India suffers from hypertension? But among them, only 12 percent manage to keep their blood pressure under control. Unmanaged blood pressure is a significant factor in causing kidney ailments, eye problems, and strokes. Acquiring detailed knowledge on crucial dos and don'ts can aid in your efforts to manage BP and live a healthy life.

Let us go through some important dos and don’ts that we need to keep in check to manage hypertension.

Do’s for Blood Pressure Management

  1. Eat a heart-healthy diet:

    Eating a balanced, anti–inflammatory diet is very important to manage blood pressure. Incorporating a DASH diet (Diet Approach To Stop Hypertension) in your dietary routine may help you manage BP. It is a low-sodium, high-potassium diet which includes lots of fruits and vegetables and less saturated fats, trans fats and salt. Make sure you have whole grain cereals rich in fiber like wheat and limit refined ones like maida. Additionally, have low-fat dairy products instead of full-fat ones for optimal management of blood pressure.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight:

    Having some extra pounds may also contribute to high blood pressure. If you have some extra weight, even a slight reduction in weight can help you manage blood pressure very effectively. Find out your ideal weight, set a target weight, and start working towards it. Monitor your weight weekly so that you know the progress you are making. We recommend that you consult your health care provider for personal guidance towards it.
  3. Consistent physical activity:

    Physical activity not only helps manage your weight, but the endorphins produced when you do any movement also help in reducing stress. It further helps manage blood pressure levels and keep your heart healthy. A moderate-intensity activity like walking is also effective for the management of blood pressure. Find an activity that you love, it could be cycling, dancing, hiking, running, or swimming and make it a point to take some time out to move.
  4. Stay hydrated:

    Chronic dehydration also contributes towards hypertension in many cases. To explain the mechanism in simple terms, if you do not keep drinking enough fluids, the cells get dehydrated, which stimulates vasopressin secretion, which further constricts blood vessels, thereby increasing blood pressure levels. Thus, drink plenty of water, coconut water, buttermilk, and lime water, especially during the  summer, for effective management of blood pressure.
  5. Check your blood pressure regularly:

    Keep monitoring your blood pressure values and maintain a log for it. High blood pressure usually does not show any warning signs, so it's always better to know your numbers. You can either visit a nearby clinic or do it at home and seek supervision of a healthcare expert.
  6. Have regular prescribed medication:

    Do not skip any medication that the doctor has advised you, nor go to change the dosage or stop medicines without the advice of the doctor. Often self-medicating can cause more harm than good.
  7. Include potassium-rich foods:

    Including potassium-rich foods like bananas, strawberries, raspberries, and coconut water in your daily diet can help in lowering blood pressure. A green salad would be a very delicious option to add to your meals. Banana smoothie can also be a healthy, potassium-rich snack option.


Don'ts for Blood Pressure Management

  1. Reduce your salt consumption: According to WHO, salt intake should be less than 5g/day (about one teaspoon) for optimal blood pressure management. Sticking to this measure can aid in reducing blood pressure levels. Canned foods, processed meats, and salty snacks are major sources of sodium that hypertension patients should limit. It's worth noting that some processed foods are often prepared with added salt, along with condiments like soy sauce and fish sauce, which contribute to the overall sodium intake.
  2. Avoid smoking: Smoking leads to a sudden rise in blood pressure and heart rate, increasing the risk of heart complications. Thus, it is advised that you avoid all forms of tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke for effective blood pressure management.
  3. Limit alcohol: Drinking alcohol excessively can also increase blood pressure values to dangerous levels. If you suffer from high blood pressure, it's always best to have it in moderation.
  4. Manage stress: Stress in all forms has shown to worsen hypertension. Avoiding stress altogether may not be the most practical solution for this, but how we manage the stress is the key. Try putting a meditation routine or even a simple deep breathing routine in your daily life. Indulging in hobbies that keep you calm, like painting, gardening, etc., can also be beneficial.


Remember, ignorance is not bliss when it comes to managing blood pressure. Regularly tracking your readings is crucial to detecting any fluctuations and taking the necessary actions to correct them. Adopting healthy habits such as staying active, eating a balanced diet, and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation can also aid in managing your blood pressure.

It is also important to consult with your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your lifestyle. Following these simple yet crucial steps can help you manage hypertension better and improve your overall quality of life.