Your love for ice cream might have given you a headache, and you wonder: how could something so good cause so much pain? Well, here is what happens when you surprise your body with a big amount of ice cream or slushy:
In the back of your mouth’s roof, there resides a nerve center filled with nerve clusters that are shocked by the coldness of ice cream you just quickly downed. These nerves alert the brain that your body temperature just dropped. The brain reacts by quickly contracting your head’s blood vessels.
In no time, your mouth temperature returns to normal, and the nerves send signals of this news to the brain which quickly dilates the vessels it ordered to contract. This consecutive contraction and dilation of blood vessels in your head is the reason behind the headache known as the brain freeze.
Now you know why a cold delicacy can be so hurtful, here are some more ice cream facts:
1. Brain freeze can be prevented by eating ice cream slow enough to allow your mouth a chance to regulate its temperature without the sudden reaction that influences blood vessels.
2. Recovery from ice cream headache would usually take about ten seconds on its own. However, you can speed up the recovery by pressing your tongue against your palate to stabilize its temperature.
3. The origin of ice cream is unclear yet documents show that the Chinese ate a dish of frozen milk with rice about 200 BC. The era of the Emperor Nero of Rome also had crushed ice with fruit made by Nero himself.
4. Edible ice cream cones exist because one ice cream vendor in 1904 ran out of cardboard dishes in his stand in the World’s Fair, so he cooperated with a Syrian waffle maker who let him sell ice creams in his waffles.