Magazine cover image Subscribe Now to the magazine

This Is Why You Get Brain Freeze From Eating Ice Cream

And how to get rid of it.
This Is Why You Get Brain Freeze From Eating Ice Cream

Whether you’re a Ben and Jerry’s gal, a Friendly’s fan, or a die-hard Halo Top devotee, everyone’s favorite ice cream sometimes comes with a not-so-enjoyable side effect. And we’re not talking about belly fat—it’s brain freeze.

Ever wondered why you get it? Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, the scientific name for the sensation, is caused by your blood vessels initially constricting in reaction to the cold dessert being spooned into your mouth. “When the vessels shrink and [then] dilate like that, the nerves next to it try to send signals up to your brain saying the vessels are really dilating—something’s happening inside our mouths,” Dr. Jessica Heiring, an expert in headache and migraine management at the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology, told Star Tribune. Usually, the uncomfortable feeling only lasts a few short seconds, and that’s when “The blood gets there, the nerves stop firing, and everything returns to its normal, happy place,” Heiring explained.

Until then, are you wondering how to avoid that pesky ice cream headache? We sure were, which is why we’ve scoured the web to find out how others enjoy the treat in peace.

How To Avoid It

“Rather than deep breaths through your nose, make several forceful exhales through your nose. The air has been warmed by your lungs. CAUTION: may need a tissue, be sure you don’t accidentally blow snot everywhere,” Reddit user qwstnmrk58 suggests. If you’re not feeling up to that challenge, Reddit user peanutbuttersmack has another idea: “Tongue on the roof of your mouth does the trick, or warm water if its available. But by the time you get water, its back to normal.”

Now that you’re willing to test these tricks out, find out how this comfort food can help you stay comfy in your skinny jeans with our exclusive report, 26 Diet Ice Creams—Ranked!

Get 5 Free Gifts When You Subscribe!

Look, feel and live great while getting on the path to better health with the new Eat This, Not That! Magazine.