The best way to cool down this summer is with a cold treat. Popsicles, ice cream cones, smoothies, water ice, and slushies are the perfect remedy against blistering summer temps. As the sweat drips down your face, you eagerly take a big bite or slurp out of your cold treat, and then it happens… brain freeze. “Brain freeze” is a sharp headache that occurs when you eat cold food fast, and it’s the only thing preventing you from devouring your frozen dessert.
In order to fight this frozen phenomenon, we have to understand what causes the problem. When something cold touches the roof of your mouth (a sensitive area that is the sight of important blood flow), the temperature change causes the blood vessels to swell. Your brain is alerting you to the temperature change and blood is being directed to the area in attempts to warm it up, which triggers pain receptors and increased sensitivity.
Don’t let brain freeze stop you from chilling out this summer. Here are some tips for beating the cold food-induced head pain.
Add a warm topping
Mixing hot and cold will decrease the risk of brain freeze. I mean, you were going to add hot fudge anyway. In fact, add as many toppings as you’d like (more toppings per spoon full = less cold ice cream). Might as well make it a sundae. Don’t feel bad about the extra calories; you’re fighting brain freeze.
Take small bites or sips
I know it’s very hard to take it slow when you obtain your refreshing treat, but if you take small bites/sips, you’ll have a more enjoyable eating experience. If you take your time, your treat will last longer and you’ll prevent brain freeze. Win-Win.
I learned this trick from Disney Channel’s Pass the Plate segment (RIP). When you start to feel the brain freeze headache, press your thumb to the roof of your mouth. Your thumb will heat up the roof of your mouth, which stops your brain from triggering pain. Ahhhh… instant relief.
Have a warm drink
Drink a liquid that is warmer than your frozen treat. A room temp liquid will do, as long as it’s warmer than your treat. Heat up the affected area and you’ll be ready for another cold dessert.
Use your tongue
This is pretty much the same concept as the thumb trick. In situations where it may be impolite to stick a thumb in your mouth, curl up your tongue and use it to warm the roof of your mouth.
You can beat the heat without brain freeze this summer, if you remember these tips. Enjoy your popsicle in peace.