People with high levels of "good" cholesterol could be at lower risk of bowel cancer, according to new research.
Scientists believe increased levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) may have an impact on the way inflammation is handled in the body.
High levels of HDL have been shown to be good for health because they "collect" excess cholesterol in the blood and transport it to the liver where it is broken down.
Quitting smoking, losing excess weight and taking frequent exercise have all been shown to boost levels of good cholesterol and reduce levels of bad cholesterol.
Some foods have also been found to have a healthy effect on blood cholesterol levels.
These include whole grains such as oatmeal, oat bran and whole-wheat products; nuts such as walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts; and plant sterols and Omega 3 fatty acids, such as those found in fatty fish, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil.