Grape seeds, chives and Korean pine nut oil might have more in common than their ability to add zest to meals. According to new research, all three foods may also help boost health and fight disease.

The three studies were presented March 26-28 at the American Chemical Society annual meeting, in Atlanta. They highlight, respectively, grape seed extract’s ability to lower blood pressure; chives’ capacity to protect against salmonella and other food-borne illnesses; and pine nut oil’s power to suppress appetite.

Although the results are preliminary, they point the way to more in-depth studies.

While agreeing that the research holds considerable promise, Lona Sandon, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, cautioned that the use of food to alleviate medical concerns is not always as simple as it seems.

"For example, they’ve been looking at grapes for years, so it’s not that surprising, but I’m concerned that the extract alone is not the best choice," said Sandon, who is also assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. "There are so many components in the grape that act together synergistically to give you the biggest bang for your buck, that if you take one out you may not be getting the full benefit for your health."

"And although I’m not that familiar with the pine nut research," added Sandon, "I would want to know how much you would have to eat to get this result, because if it’s a lot then you’re taking in a lot of fat and calories to get the appetite-suppressing effect. As well, while adding chives might be an organic way to protect produce, it’s not a replacement for what we do in the kitchen: washing hands, proper storing of food at proper temperatures, and the need to cook foods at proper temperatures."