By Nikkitha Bakshani
The Daily Meal

Most days, we need to be "on" -- to give big presentations, optimize workflow, or just feel less drowsy and lethargic. Sometimes, coffee simply doesn't cut it, and we look to actual meals to give us energy or buy the newest drink that promises to perk us up. Feel like you've tried every energy-boosting solution in America? Here are nine foods and drinks from around the world that make you alert, active, and ready for whatever the universe throws your way.

To find the items on this list, we referred to our list of what athletes from around the world eat when they need to get ready for a game, and looked at what foreign publications, like The Telegraph in London, recommend for the perennially tired and stressed. We also combed through the websites and catalogs of health food stores to find ingredients that are sourced from countries outside of the United States.

Some of these energy-boosting foods, like muesli, will sound familiar, while others, like callaloo, you may have never heard of. There are certainly a few surprises in here. For example, did you know that popcorn can give you a quick perk-up? Not buttered popcorn or strangely-flavored popcorn (pinot noir popcorn, anyone?), but the regular ol' air-popped goodness.

Most of these foods can be easily made at home. In fact, that’s what we'd recommend, as the commercial versions of many products that claim to boost energy involve ungodly amounts of sugar and/or chemicals that should have no place in your body. We recommend packing the homemade versions in your bag as you leave for work in the morning.

Global Energy-Boosting Foods

Callaloo (The Caribbean)
 

Callaloo (The Caribbean)

Callaloo is a leafy green stew of amaranth, taro, water spinach, or other similar leaves -- vegetables that actually becomes more nutritious when cooked.

Callaloo (The Caribbean)
 

Callaloo (The Caribbean)

The stew has four times as much calcium as broccoli, and is rich in iron, antioxidants, and energy-boosting carbohydrates that exist as a result of the water in the dish turning some of the fiber in the leaves to starch.

Yerba Mate (Uruguay)
 

Yerba Mate (Uruguay)

The energy boost from yerba mate doesn't just come from its caffeine content, but also from the part it plays in social interaction. Passing around a hollow "gourd" (pot) of mate and taking turns drinking through a metal straw is a common social practice in Uruguay, Argentina and southern Brazil.

Yerba Mate (Uruguay)
 

Yerba Mate (Uruguay)

I mean, who doesn't have a spring in their step after a fun gathering with friends? Perhaps that's a stretch, but you’ll also get a significant lift from the combined stimulants of caffeine, theobromine (found in chocolate), and theophylline, which helps regulate breathing.

Guarana (Brazil)
 

Guarana (Brazil)

This berry, which is most often consumed in a powdered form and added to soft drinks, has a key ingredient (guaranine) that is virtually the same as caffeine. The difference is that while caffeine is one of a few naturally occurring chemical compounds in guaranine, guaranine contains more neutralizing alkaloids.

Guarana (Brazil)
 

Guarana (Brazil)

Unlike caffeine, fruit-derived guaranine benefits from phytonutrients and fatty molecules in its seeds, which enables the guaranine to be absorbed gently over a period of time and thus have a milder effect on the body (but the same energizing effect on the mind). It is the most common source of caffeine in South America.

Muesli (Switzerland)
 

Muesli (Switzerland)

Muesli consists of dry rolled oats mixed with fresh or dried fruits, seeds, and nuts, moistened with a wet component (like milk, yogurt or fruit juice).

Muesli (Switzerland)
 

Muesli (Switzerland)

Store-bought muesli can contain high amounts of sugar that will make you crash not long after your boost, but if you make homemade muesli, you can control the ingredients and make the most of the high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, and protein present in the cereal, fresh fruit and nuts.

Matcha Green Tea (Japan)
 

Matcha Green Tea (Japan)

Matcha is a more high-powered version of your standard green tea. Matcha is derived from green tea plants grown in the shade for three weeks until it is ready to be plucked, and this shaded growth produces more theanine and chlorophyll, both of which improve mental alertness and minimizes the jittery effects of the plant's natural caffeine.

Matcha Green Tea (Japan)
 

Matcha Green Tea (Japan)

Since it is usually consumed in powder form and mixed into drinks, drinkers get a more concentrated nutritional punch than when tea leaves stick at the bottom of the cup (keeping their nutrients with them). Matcha green tea is the center of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

Popcorn (USA)
 

Popcorn (USA)

We certainly don't mean the butter-laden movie theater version. Air-popped corn, or, if you must, microwaved popcorn without too much salt or sugar, is whole-grain (unlike pretzels).

Popcorn (USA)
 

Popcorn (USA)

Its high volume makes you feel full without weighing down your stomach, so you can go about your business with a fiber-rich but low-calorie boost of energy. The journal Nutrients calls popcorn one of the best energy-boosting snacks for children.

Marmite (United Kingdom)
 

Marmite (United Kingdom)

Nutritionist Dale Pinnock says that marmite, with its high concentration of B vitamins, is directly involved in creating energy at a cellular level. A small spread of the bitter stuff, which is made from brewer's yeast extr

Marmite (United Kingdom)
 

Marmite (United Kingdom)

act, on your morning toast can also support the central nervous system during times of stress.

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For the complete list of the Energy-Boosting Foods Around the World, go to TheDailyMeal.com.

More From The Daily Meal:
-- 20 Best Athlete-Owned Restaurants
-- What Athletes Eat Around the World
-- 9 Foods Athletes Should Never Eat
-- 15 Athletes Who Are Changing the Way We Eat

Check out more food stories on The PostGame in Chompions.

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