Holidays are the time when one tends to overindulge, both on food as well as alcohol. During this time of the year even those who usually are strict with their diets and exercise may run the risk of faltering. However such behaviour can bring health troubles especially for those with a condition such as hypertension- a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Hypertension does not show any outward symptoms and not following precautions to keep it under control can spell trouble. A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal the Lancet has shown that India has one of the lowest rates of hypertension diagnosis in the world. If you are hypertensive, a little bit of self-control and smart eating can help you avoid the not so healthy after effects of the holiday season. A healthy lifestyle plays an important role in managing high blood pressure.Also Read - 5 Side effects of Drinking Too Much Water

It has been seen that sometimes having excess alcohol over a short period of time can lead to sudden onset of palpitations due to fast and irregular heart rhythm. This is known as holiday heart syndrome, seen typically on holidays or on long weekends after a hard bout of drinking. This can even happen to people with normal hearts, and is typically short-lasting. So drink safely and in moderation. Also Read - Smoking Takes a Toll On Male and Female Reproductive Health, Doctor Explains

Dr Tilak Suvarna, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Asian Heart Institute, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai shares 5 simple ways to manage hypertension and heart health. Also Read - Weight Loss Tips: Are You Losing Inches but Not Losing Weight? Nutritionist Explains the Reason

  • Take your BP medications regularly

Forgetting to take medicines is not uncommon, especially during holidays. This can lead to poor BP control. Therefore make sure that you take your BP medicines daily.

  • Be Active

Make sure to take out at least 30 minutes from your busy schedule for some form of physical exercise. Exercise can be as simple as brisk walking or some form of aerobic exercise that you enjoy doing. If you are hypertensive and otherwise not physically active, then it is advisable to consult your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.

  • Eating in moderation

While it is important to enjoy your sweets and savories, have them in moderation. Low sodium, fat-reduced diet will help to keep your blood pressure under check. Opt for sweets made from healthy sweeteners such as jaggery and dates instead of white sugar. Try smart cooking techniques such as dry or shallow frying instead of deep-frying.

  • Healthy Foods

A healthy diet is key to lowering and maintaining blood pressure at an optimal level. Including certain foods in your diet, especially those high in specific nutrients like potassium and magnesium, reduces your blood pressure levels.

Keep a stock of pistachios, pumpkin seeds, berries, citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons at home. Eat seasonal fruits with high fiber content and a rich natural source of vitamins. All these foods display blood pressure regulating properties and are healthier alternatives for your sweet cravings.

  • Less Stress, More Rest

Chronic and occasional stress can also contribute to high blood pressure. It is therefore important to set aside 10-20 minutes daily for self-care. You can choose to do yoga and pranayam for some time during the day. It is equally important to take 7-8 hours of sleep. Research suggests that those who sleep six hours or less may have a steeper increase in blood pressure. If you already are hypertensive, then sleep deficit can adversely affect your blood pressure levels.