Parsley packs an antioxidant punch

Parsley is much more than a garnish.

Two tablespoons of parsley, high in vitamin K and the antioxidant vitamins A and C, pack 144 percent daily value (DV, based on 2,000 calories per day) of vitamin K for bone and heart health.

Along with its antioxidant vitamins, parsley contains several other unique compounds that also pack antioxidant punch. Myristicin, one of parsley's essential oils, was shown in animal studies to have anti-inflammatory properties to inhibit tumor formation and growth, according to a 2011 study reported in Molecules.

Apigenin, one of many flavonoids in parsley, has been prevalent in recent breast cancer research, and has been shown to stop breast cancer cells from multiplying and growing, according to a study published in 2011 in Cancer Prevention Research.

Tell your doctor if heart disease runs in the family

Making sure your doctor knows about a family history of heart problems will help to establish your cardiac risk and allow you to take preventive steps, says a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers in England checked to see if including a family history questionnaire improved their ability to identify people at high risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Also known as coronary artery disease, CHD is the narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle, which causes chest pain and heart attacks.

The routine calculation of your risk of CHD in the next 10 years takes into account age, sex, tobacco use, cholesterol level, and blood pressure. Having a parent or sibling who developed CHD before age 55 also increases risk. The researchers found that the questionnaire did improve their ability (by about 5 percent) to identify people at high risk for CHD and may increase the likelihood that they receive preventive care.

Exercise for memory

If there weren't enough good reasons to exercise, here's another one: A new study finds exercise improves memory and reduces the risk for cognitive decline as we get older.

The study included 86 women ages 70 to 80, some of whom had mild cognitive impairment - a loss of memory and mental function that often precedes Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. The women were randomly assigned to do resistance training, aerobics or balance and toning exercises twice per week.

After six months, 77 women remained in the study. Women in the resistance-training group performed much better on tests of attention, conflict resolution and memory than those in the balance and toning group, according to results published in the April 23 Archives of Internal Medicine. The aerobic training group didn't see as much of an improvement in mental function, although their physical function did improve.

This study suggests firming your muscles can also tone up your mind. Before starting any resistance training program, check with your doctor to make sure it's safe for you to exercise.