Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) activity was evaluated in the presence of flavanol-rich foods, i.e., wines, chocolates, and teas, and of purified flavonoids. All foods assayed inhibited ACE activity, red wines being more effective than white wine, and green tea more effective than black tea. The inhibition of ACE activity was associated with both phenolic and flavanol content in the foods. When isolated polyphenols were assayed, procyanidins (dimer and hexamer) and epigallocatechin significantly inhibited enzyme activity; similar concentrations of (+)-catechin, (-)-epicatechin, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, quercetin, kaempferol, and resveratrol were ineffective. When ACE activity was assayed in rat kidney membranes in the presence of chocolate extracts or purified procyanidins, it was observed that the inhibition depended on the chocolate content of flavanols and the number of flavanol units constituting the procyanidin. These experiments demonstrate that flavanols either isolated or present in foods could inhibit ACE activity. The occurrence of such inhibition in vivo needs to be determined, although is supported by the association between the consumption of flavanol-rich foods and reductions in blood pressure observed in several experimental models.