A daily cup of tea is incomplete without the addition of ginger, also known in India as ‘adrak’. It imparts a subtle spice and an invigorating aroma. Beyond its role as a tea flavoring, ginger serves medicinal purposes, offering relief for nausea, digestive problems, and common seasonal flu symptoms like colds and coughs. But the question is which type of ginger is best to use – dry or fresh? While both dry ginger and fresh ginger offer several health benefits, we took an expert’s advice to find out which one is better.
What are the benefits of dry ginger
Dry ginger, also known as “sonth”, is made by drying fresh ginger root and then grinding it into a fine powder. This process involves removing most of the water content and concentrating the flavor and medicinal properties. Here are the benefits of dry ginger, as pointed out by Dr Archana Batra, a nutritionist, physiotherapist and certified diabetes educator.
- Improves digestion: Dry ginger is renowned for its ability to improve digestion. It can relieve indigestion, reduce flatulence, and alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: It contains compounds that possess anti-inflammatory properties, potentially assisting in managing inflammatory conditions and easing muscle and joint pain.
- Respiratory support: Dry ginger can help alleviate respiratory issues. It’s often used to relieve coughs, colds, and sore throats as well.
What are the benefits of fresh ginger?
Fresh ginger, in its raw and natural form, is widely appreciated for its culinary and medicinal properties. It offers a zesty, pungent, and slightly sweet taste. The benefits of fresh ginger include:
- Anti-nausea: Fresh ginger is well-known for its anti-nausea properties. It’s frequently used to alleviate motion sickness, morning sickness during pregnancy, and nausea induced by various conditions. Chewing on a small piece of fresh ginger or making ginger tea can be effective.
- Antioxidant content: It’s rich in antioxidants, aiding in combating oxidative stress and potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
- Good for digestion: Similar to dry ginger, fresh ginger supports digestion by stimulating saliva and bile production, which helps break down food and prevent gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Remedy for colds: Fresh ginger is also commonly consumed as a remedy for colds and flu, as it can help alleviate symptoms and boost the immune system.
Which one is best: dry ginger or fresh ginger?
Contrary to the belief that fresh ginger is better than dried ginger, the reality is opposite. According to the National Library of Medicine, the drying process of fresh ginger increases its antioxidant content by removing water. However, this doesn’t mean fresh ginger lacks antioxidants entirely, but its antioxidant levels decrease when used in cooking.
Additionally, a 2013 study published in PubMed Central studied the effects of fresh and dried ginger on a respiratory virus in human cells. The findings indicate that fresh ginger may help protect the respiratory system, while dried ginger does not produce the same effect.
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Additionally, Dr Batra explains that as per Ayurveda, dry ginger helps balance vata, while fresh ginger tends to increase it, potentially causing gas, bloating, and digestive issues. Therefore, for addressing seasonal flu, cold, cough, and respiratory problems, it is advisable to opt for dry ginger water or tea over fresh ginger water.
Dry ginger is a favorable choice, but it’s important not to completely avoid fresh ginger from your diet, as it still offers valuable benefits. Embrace the advantages of both varieties!