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Stop smoking.

Lose excess weight. The risk of high blood pressure rises significantly both with body weight and with increased waist size. Women with waists of 34 inches or greater and men with waists of 39 inches or more have been linked to the greatest risk.Women and lighter-weight individuals should limit daily alcohol intake to about the amount found in either two 12-ounce beers, two 4-ounce glasses of wine or two ounces of hard liquor.

Increase physical activity by walking or doing other activities for 30 to 45 minutes a day on most days of the week.

Reduce sodium intake to no more than 2.4 grams of sodium or 6 grams of sodium chloride per day or about one teaspoon of salt per day.

Consume eight to 10 servings per day of fruits and vegetables. Both are rich sources of magnesium, which helps to keep blood pressure in check.

Eat enough potassium every day. Recommended intakes are 3.5 grams daily of potassium or about the amount found in three medium bananas and three cups of orange juice per day. Consume adequate amounts of calcium. The latest recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences are for most people to consume about 1,300 milligrams per day of calcium, approximately the amount found in four servings of low-fat dairy foods, such as skim milk, yogurt or cheese. One serving is equal to eight ounces of milk or yogurt or about one ounce of cheese. Limit intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.

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