'Resistant starch' (RS) is defined as starch and starch degradation products that resist the action of amylolytic enzymes. The effect of multiple heating/cooling treatments on the RS content of legumes, cereals and tubers was studied. The mean RS contents of the freshly cooked legumes, cereals and tubers (4.18%, 1.86% and 1.51% dry matter basis, respectively) increased to 8.16%, 3.25% and 2.51%, respectively, after three heating/cooling cycles (P< or =0.05) with a maximum increase of 114.8% in pea and a minimum of 62.1% in sweet potato (P< or =0.05). Significant positive correlations were observed between the RS content and amylose (y=0.443x-5.993, r=0.829, P< or =0.05, n=9) as well as between the percentage increase in RS and insoluble dietary fiber content (y=2.149x-24.787, r=0.962, P< or =0.05, n=9). A differential scanning calorimeter study showed an increase in the T(0), T(p), T(c) and DeltaH values of the repeatedly autoclaved/cooled starches. The intact granular structure was also observed disappear, as studied using scanning electron microscopy.