BY MICHAEL ROIZEN, M.D., AND MEHMET OZ, M.D.
Your liver isn't just a place to filter tequila. Although it never gets the attention your heart, eyes or other body parts get (know of any odes to your liver?), it performs biological miracles daily. All blood that has visited your small intestine flows through the liver, where it gets detoxified and where all the nutrients go before they get passed to the heart for generalized distribution. A big job, but something has to do it. So help your liver help you with these four strategies:
Live clean. Reduce your personal pollution so that there's less to filter out. Drink filtered water, eat unprocessed foods, choose veggie protein over red meat and practice safe sex. And yes, keep the mojitos to a minimum.
Add crunchy veggies. Cruciferous produce (like broccoli and cabbage), B-rich foods (like whole grains) and high C items (like citrus fruits and leafy greens) assist the liver's detoxifying process.
Consider a supplement. Lecithin (egg yolks and soybeans are good sources) and zinc (turkey) support liver function, and you may want to consider supplementing your diet with them if you don't get much naturally (men should get 550 mg and women 425 mg a day of lecithin; 15 mg a day of zinc). Herbs like milk thistle and dandelion may help liver function, too, but consult your doctor before taking them.
Don't take too much vitamin A. If you do, you risk liver problems, including cirrhosis.
The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, are authors of "YOU: The Owner's Manual." Want more? See "The Dr. Oz Show" on TV starting Sept. 14 (check local listings). To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com.