But did you know that it becomes even more important as you get older? Fiber protects you from strokes, helps you have more regular bowel movements, and lowers your cholesterol and blood sugar levels – a big benefit for older adults. It is harder to get this vitamin from food, but fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are a good source. Pregnant women take a form of vitamin B9 produced in the laboratory, called folic acid, to prevent birth defects. Calcium helps their muscles, nerves, cells, and blood vessels function properly. This natural form of vitamin B9 is found in chlorophyll, nuts, beans, and other foods. But too much folic acid from supplements or fortified foods can increase your chance of getting colon cancer or nerve damage. Selenium can also keep your muscles strong and may help prevent age-related diseases, such as dementia, certain types of cancer, and thyroid disease. Vitamin D also helps your muscles, nerves, and immune system work properly. It helps your body make proteins and bones, and keeps your blood sugar levels stable. Up to 30% of people over 50 have atrophic gastritis, which makes it harder for the body to absorb food. If you think you need more than you can absorb from food, talk to your doctor about dietary supplements that are safe for your medication, diet, and health. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It helps your sense of smell and taste and fights infection and inflammation, all of which are important tasks in the body of older adults. Unless your doctor advises otherwise, it is best to get omega-3 fatty acids from foods such as fatty fish, nuts, canola oil, or flaxseed. It can also protect against stroke, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be used as a basis for making decisions about your health.