It’s that cold, sharp pain right behind your forehead. It is fairly likely that you have had one, probably on a hot day in the middle of summer while eating a Popsicle, some ice cream, or while drinking a smoothie. It’s the phenomenon known as the brain freeze, and most people have had it at least once. If, like me, frozen food and drinks are your favorite, you have had brain freeze many times.

Brain FreezeMy downfall is a fresh fruit smoothie.  I like them in a tall pint glass with a straw, and I drink them as fast as possible.  That is, until I get the pain in my head that seems to paralyze all brain function.

No, this doesn’t mean that your brain is actually freezing, but according to a Department of Veterans Affairs’ study, a brain freeze is a “cold stimulus headache” or an “ice cream headache”. Though, there is no widely accepted cause for the brain freeze, in terms of what happens in your brain, there are a few theories being thrown around.

Some say that it’s a rush of blood to your brain which results in pressure, so we interpret the pressure as pain. Another theory is that the cold of the food or drink overstimulates a nerve in the roof of the mouth, which sends a pain message to the brain, resulting in the brain freeze.

Why don’t we just get a cold sensation instead of getting a sharp headache?  Well, that is still uncertain. According to Veteran’s Affairs, “Why the brain gets “ouch” from the cold and not “brrrrr” is a mystery.” Unfortunately for me, the only way to prevent a brain freeze is to slow down on my vice. I just have to eat or drink those cold foods slower.

So next time you reach for your favorite cold dessert or drink on a hot day, just remember to take your time eating or drinking it, especially if you want to avoid the dreaded brain freeze. And, in case you are out of ideas for a yummy smoothie recipe, I have written out one of my favorites below for you to enjoy!

Bette's Brain Freeze SmoothieBette’s Brain Freeze Smoothie

This is a tangy smoothie filled with calcium, protein and antioxidants.

(makes 2 pint glasses)

•  2 cups frozen strawberries

•  1 cup frozen blueberries

•  ½ cup nonfat vanilla greek yogurt

•  1 packet Emergen-C fizzy drink mix (or 2 tablespoons honey)

•  1 ½ cups water (or non-fat milk)

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth, and (slowly) enjoy!