Olive Oil and The Hospital
It’s interesting how a story idea pops up and in the least expected places. My Uncle Zio, which means Uncle in Italian, was admitted into the hospital after a long and grueling ER visit. We found out he had a heart issue, but didn’t know any details yet.
Thank goodness for the compassionate ER doctor who was able to convince Zio to be admitted into the hospital (he’s an ornery one) and the testing began. The tests revealed he did, in fact, have heart disease.
Food is always a concern when you are in the hospital as we always want good tasty food, and hospitals are notoriously known for bland food.. When his first meal arrived, it included bread and butter. I was glad, and relieved, to see that it was real butter and not margarine.
At a subsequent visit, his food tray was delivered and I noticed a container of gold-colored liquid next to his bread. I read the nutritionist’s fact sheet and I was thrilled to see it was Olive Oil.
I was very pleased to see that the hospital recognizes that Olive Oil is a heart-healthy oil and they offer it to their patients with heart conditions.
Curiosity was getting the better of me and I had to smell and taste the Oil.
When I did a quick smell of the oil, without the proper sensory protocol, it smelled good – I was surprised and impressed. When I tasted it, I was shocked at how rancid tasting it was. This is a perfect example of why it’s imperative to not rely only on one sensory attribute, but how important both taste and smell are.
Rancidity comes from oxidation. Storage conditions play a huge factor in rancidity. The Olive Oil must be kept in a dark container and a cool environment, 59–63o F.
There are other conditions that cause rancidity. One example is when oxygen gets in the oil during the bottling process. High-quality premium oils are bottled in the absence of oxygen. Harmless gases such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide and/or argon are used to create the perfect environment to bottle Extra Virgin Olive Oil and maintain its integrity.
The news is that rancid Olive Oil may not harm you in the short term, but it does contain free radicals that may cause cancer and other illnesses long term. Here is an article that goes into more details about the rancidity of oils. https://www.healwithfood.org/bad-for-you/rancid-oil.php
So, bottom line: you want to make sure your Olive Oil is fresh, stored appropriately, and is indeed Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The high polyphenol count of Extra Virgin Olive
Oil, which is an antioxidant, actually helps to keep your Olive Oil fresh and helps your body remove free radicals.
Use and eat your Olive Oil while fresh – it’s yummy and so good for you!
Ciao for now,