Red Dead Redemption 2 uses a unique healing system that consists of cores and a bar. Your health core depletes over time. The lower the health core gets, the faster the bar will refill. Health Core can be drained quickly when exposed to extreme temperatures without proper clothing, getting bitten by snakes, and being malnurished.
Think of the health core as a reserve. Once the bar is depleted and the core is depleted then you will die from the next damage to you. There are two ways to recover health. You can drink potions and elixirs to regain your health bar. You can also eat food to replenish your health core. When you’re gearing up for a mission, make sure that you’ve got your health cores at 100%. The health core is the white heart icon. Eat things that show they will increase the health core to replenish health.
Elixirs and potions can be purchased at the General Store in numerous towns, but they can also be made by crafting if you’ve found the right recipes. These items can be crafted at campfire, as well as mobile campfires or any other campfire that you come across. Crafting can also be done when resting. Some potions and elixirs will fortify your health bar or health core. These items will make the health core turn yellow and during that time it cannot be drained.
Food can also be purchased at the General Store but you can also cook food at a campfire. You can cook animal meat that you have killed while hunting to replenish health core.