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Everything You Need to Know About Health in Minecraft

The sure way to a blocky heart

The Overworld is a pretty awesome place with its blocky scenery and countless hidden gems. But if you’re playing in Survival mode, it is also quite a dangerous one. The Nether and The End even more so. If you’ve ever had one of these less friendly encounters or mishaps, you might also have noticed those red hearts at the bottom of your screen shake and turn black. Or worse, disappear altogether to reveal the infamous death screen! You, my friend, just suffered damage to your health. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to avoid this.  

Let’s dig into what mechanics affect health and how you can best manage this bar of red hearts so you can journey farther, fight fiercer, and build for much, much longer.

What is health?

When playing in Survival mode, you will find a row of hearts above the hotbar at the bottom of your screen. This is the health bar, and it shows your health status, how much damage you’ve taken, and ultimately how vulnerable you are to attacks, slipups, and... well, dying. Each heart represents two health points meaning you have a total of 20 to work with. If all the hearts are red, you’re in tip-top shape.  

What happens if you lose health?

At four hearts or less you lose your ability to sprint, which isn’t very run-for-your-life-compatible. Run out of hearts completely, and you’re defeated and forced to respawn, dropping your entire inventory in the spot where you were dealt the final blow. I can, unfortunately, confirm that this applies even when carrying the rarest, most valuable items you’ve trekked days for. But in Hardcore mode it’s even worse. There you only have one life so run out of health and you have to create a completely new world.

So, keeping track of your health is important. It will help you make wiser decisions when taking on the Minecraft universe. Like when you get tempted to run head-first into a cave with several skeletons already aiming their bows at you. Oh, that’s just me? Well, a calculated adventurer would notice they only have a few health points left before charging at these hostile mobs. Then you have time to heal and improve your chances of survival... at least in theory. The combat bit is still down to you.

How do you lose health?

Whilst there’s mainly one way to fill up your health bar (and we’ll get to that in a bit), there are, as expected, far many more ways to decrease it.  


When diving underwater, ten bubbles will appear above your hunger bar, showing how much oxygen you have left. The longer you hold your breath, the fewer bubbles remain. Once they’re all gone, your health bar will rapidly tank with it, so try to save enough bubbles to always make it back to the surface.


Located next to the health bar is your hunger bar, made up of ten drumsticks. These will decrease in number as you carry out any physical activity. This in itself isn’t dangerous, but once you run out your health depletes with it, so keep a snack at hand to avoid starving.

Taking damage:

Okay, this is a big one. There are far too many ways to take damage to list them all here, but let's name a fun few! You can take damage by touching magma, falling from heights, getting stung by bees, being struck by lightning, getting buried in gravel, catching fire, and contracting food poisoning from eating rotten flesh. And let’s not forget all the ways you can get attacked by hostile mobs...!

Whilst each of the things mentioned cause damage, they all remove a different number of health points from your health bar. Take falling from heights as an example. Falling from the roof of your dirt house? Barely any damage. Fall from a tall cliff? Instant death. Fall from the highest mountaintop into a lake? Surprisingly, no damage at all. Turns out blocky limbs make us excellent divers?

How do you avoid losing health?

The foolproof way – play in Creative mode where hostile mobs don’t actually bite back. The same goes for Peaceful as difficulty, but here you can suffer other types of damage. If playing in Survival mode, there’s also no shame in running for your life (normalize double-tapping the W key!) or in avoiding staying out at night altogether. 

But if you are itching for even a tiny adrenaline hit and want to know the feeling of not only looking danger in the eye but also living to tell the tale, then you should know about armor. If you’re wearing armor and a hostile mob attacks you, your health bar will take less of a hit than it would otherwise. Plus, you’ll look pretty cool. How much your armor protects you depends on what item you are wearing and what it is made of.

A full set of armor has four components: a helmet, leggings, a chest plate, and boots. These all require different resources and provide different levels of protection. The weakest is made of cow leather and the toughest of netherite. 

How do you restore health?


As the old saying goes – the way to a Minecraft heart is through blocky food. When starting out, eating is by far the easiest way of regenerating health. The ten drumsticks next to your health bar indicate your hunger level and if you’re running low, all you need to do is simply consume your choice of food, and your drumsticks will replenish. When you reach nine or more drumsticks, your health will also start regenerating automatically!

Potion of Healing

The other way to restore your health is with a Potion of Healing. By drinking this, you will regain four full hearts at once, which certainly can come in handy in tricky situations. 

To make this potion you will need: a brewing stand, three water bottles, blaze powder, Nether wart, and glistering melon slice.

  1. Open the brewing stand by hovering your crosshair over it and pressing the ‘use’ button
  2. Add the blaze powder to activate the brewing stand.
  3. Place the water bottles in their respective boxes.
  4. Add Nether wart to the top box and wait for it to finish brewing.
  5. Once done, follow this same process for the glistering melon slice. Now you have Instant Health, also known as the healing potion!
  6. (Optional step) If you want an even stronger healing potion, just add glowstone dust and you’ll get Instant Health II.
  7. Now consume the potion by dropping the bottle into your hotbar, select the box it’s in, drink up, and watch your hearts replenish!  

Now that you know how to keep your health intact or refill it when needed, the question is if you’ll play it safe or literally live on the edge from here on? Maybe you’ll be known to always carry 64 watermelon slices. Or decide that this is the day to leave your inventory behind and see for yourself how much your hearts can, in fact, take? I’d say do whatever your blocky row of hearts desires! The beauty of Minecraft, and learning the hard way, is that there’s no shortage of second chances.

Linn Viberg
Written By
Linn Viberg

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