We’ve all been there – you sip a very cold drink through a straw, or you enjoy your ice cream a little too quickly, and you suddenly feel an intense cold headache. The feeling is commonly called a “brain freeze”, and while it has no serious implications for our health, it can be quite unpleasant.
So, why does ice cream give you a brain freeze and how can you stop it?
What Causes It?
Also called an ice cream headache or cold-stimulus headache, a brain freeze can be caused by various cold foods and beverages other than ice cream. Although ice cream is the most common culprit, you can get a brain freeze from a very cold drink or an ice pop as well.
Scientists believe that a brain freeze happens when a cold stimulus narrows the blood vessels in the roof of our mouth. The warm air then rewarms and widens the vessels, and these quick changes that happen near the sensitive nerves in our palate cause the brain freeze. All of this happens because of an increased blood flow in the anterior cerebral artery in our brain.
How Can You Stop It?
To stop the sensation of an ice cream headache all you need to do is to warm the roof of your mouth. You can do this either by simply pushing your tongue to your palate or drinking warm water. However, the best way to prevent a brain freeze is to avoid taking a lot of ice cream or cold drinks at once.
So, why does ice cream give you a brain freeze? It seems that the cold sensation affects the blood vessels in the roof of our mouth, which causes discomfort. Take your time when eating ice cream or drinking a cold drink and you should be fine.