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How to Combat Brain Freeze

How to Prevent (or Stop!) Brain Freeze.

How many of you have been minding your business on a roasting hot day and all you can think about is a cold treat to bring your internal temperature down? If you're anything like us, once that cold treat of choice is in hand it's incredibly difficult to slow yourself down, partially because it's melting faster than you can consume it but also because you're hoping the cold treat will cool you down. The speed with which you're consuming the frozen snack distracts you from the risks, also known as a brain freeze. In honor of National Ice Cream month we are going to delve a little deeper into the dreaded brain freeze, what causes them and is there really a way to cause them to go away fast?

First things first, what in the world is a brain freeze? A brain freeze also known as a cold stimulus headache or sphenopalatine gamglioneuralgia, is a short-term headache typically linked to the rapid consumption of ice cream, popsicles, gelato, or some other cold substance. Did you know that you are more likely to get a brain freeze if you are consuming your cold substance in very hot weather and you consume your cold food too fast?

Let's get technical: Dr. Jorge Serrador did some research on brain freezes and discovered "... the sensation of a brain freeze appears to be to be caused by a dramatic and sudden increase in blood flow through the brain's anterior cerebral artery." Upon consuming warm water they were able to trigger the artery's constriction causing the pain to disappear. (Medical News Today)

  • Fight your instincts – A brain freeze is caused after you've swallowed your frozen treat, so to prevent the freeze from occurring hold the cold substance against the roof of your mouth before swallowing. (Daily Meal)
  • Spice up your frozen treat – by adding a warm topping, lets say hot fudge or warm caramel. By mixing up the playing field you decrease your risk of a brain freeze. (Daily Meal)
  • Give yourself a little massage – try gently rubbing the back of your neck or temples, working a little blood flow into the painful area. (Daily Meal)
  • Suck your thumb! – Just kidding! Press your thumb (or tongue) against the roof of your mouth, this warms your palate and has been the go-to treatment for the majority of brain freeze sufferers. (Daily Meal)
  • Get yourself a hot chocolate – or some other warm drink, even room temperature water can warm your palate just enough to make the pain disappear. (Daily Meal)
Some of these seem like common sense but don't necessarily cross your mind when that tiny ice pick hammers away at your skull when you're simply trying to enjoy your ice cream. The next time you stop by any of our Savannah's Candy Kitchen locations, be sure to try some of our homemade ice cream or gelato, which is made fresh at each location, and if you happen to be unlucky enough to suffer a brain freeze, test out one of the above theories and tell us how you fair!