“Until you destroy your body, you don’t learn to appreciate it. Treat the body like a temple because the body is so beautiful. If and when you understand your body then you will respect it. The body is like a bud, until the sun rises it will not bloom; until it blooms it will not be beautiful. So respect it, take care of it.” ~ Bikram Choudhury

The female form is an incredibly beautiful and marvelous creation.

Leonardo DaVinci, arguably history’s greatest artist and polymath once said: “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” DaVinci, who was thought to be gay, featured women – including women and their children – in many of his art pieces. The Mona Lisa, naturally, is his most famous work.

The female body is also very complex and multi-faceted. So intricately complicated, in fact, that many women aren’t aware of a few things!

Here are five things many women don’t know about their bodies, according to female experts:

1. Women require specific nutrients

Dr. Arielle Levitan, co-author of The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear the Confusion about Vitamins and Your Health, says “Most women don’t know that they are in need of certain nutrients. Vitamin D, for example, is a vitamin found mainly in sunlight and not in many food sources.”

Most women are also iron-deficient, the result of continuous menstrual cycles and/or pregnancies. Contributing to the pervasiveness of iron-deficiency among women is that many do not eat red meat, which is a primary food source of the nutrient.

Iron-deficiency may lead to symptoms such as fatigue, low energy, migraines, muscles aches and thinning of the hair.

Meats rich in iron include beef, fish, and poultry. Good plant sources include dried beans, lentils, and peas.

2. Female skin dehydrates quickly

Women are very prone to dehydration of the skin. There are a couple of reasons for this; first, baths and showers are an essential – and often overused – component of most women’s skin care regimen.

But submerging your skin for prolonged amounts of time is counterproductive. “Taking long, hot showers is actually bad for your skin – hot water softens the oils in your skin so that they are easily washed away, thus making it easier for your skin to dry out or become itchy,” says dermatologist Dr.  Kathy Taghipour.

Limiting sun exposure, turning the water temperature down, and limiting contact with hot water can help with skin dehydration.

3. Women are disposed to anxiety

Females have naturally higher levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), progesterone (a pregnancy-normalizing hormone), and estradiol (a natural steroid). As a result of these chemicals – and their effect on women’s hormones and neurochemistry – they are twice as likely as men to experience an anxiety disorder.

Dr. Kimberly Hershenson, a therapist based in New York City, provides some recommendations for dealing with anxiety. “Make a daily gratitude list (by) writing down ten things you are grateful for.” Hershenson also recommends practicing both meditation and acceptance.

“Make a list of what you can control in the situation causing you anxiety (your reaction) and what you can’t control (other’s behavior).” If anxiety levels become extremely disruptive to daily living, it’s advisable to seek out medical assistance, therapy, or a support group.

4. Menstruation misinformation!

Experts state that many women often don’t possess the necessary knowledge pertaining to their menstrual cycles.

More specifically, many women are unaware that menstruation isn’t a ‘cleansing’ response of the body. Furthermore, says Noni Ayana, a sex education therapist and consultant, “…the menstrual cycle is not exclusive to the time your period begins and ends; it is a 28 day (or so) process.”

Many women are also unaware that their body is continuously preparing itself for pregnancy, and the extent to which developments during pregnancy impact their bodies.

5. You’re stronger than you think!

Unfortunately, women continue to face discrimination in many parts of the world – including in developed countries. The United States Congress, for example, passed the ‘Equal Pay Act’ more than five decades ago. Yet, women continue to earn just 79 cents for every dollar a man does.

Our world necessitates that women have a strong backbone – and fortunately, they do!

Look no further than Washington D.C., where women all over America continue to fight for their constitutional rights.

The 115th Congress consists of 21 female Senators – the highest in history.

And, of course, Americans nominated the first female for President in 2016.

Keep the first going, ladies! It all starts with a thorough understanding of your body and mind!