Could a vegetarian diet reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress? A review of the literature. Oxidative stress is a natural physiological process that describes an imbalance between free radical production and the ability of the antioxidant defence system of the body to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals can be beneficial as they may promote wound healing and contribute to a healthy immune response. However, free radicals can have a detrimental impact when they interfere with the regulation of apoptosis and thus play a role in the promotion of some cancers and conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Read more about Could a vegetarian diet reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress? A review of the literature.